Sunday, 26 February 2017

Adaptation B: nCloth & Volume Axis Field Test #1

As I searched online for some useful effects in Maya, I came across a tutorial that used nCloth to produce the effect of an object dissolving. To do this, I took a sphere and detached the faces. I then converted the sphere into an nCloth and turned off the gravity. I then made a Volume Axis Field and messed around with some of the settings and keyed the location of the Field so it made the separate faces to dissolve into different directions. It may be interesting to layer this effect on top of some other randomised elements, or randomise the location or effect of the Field in some way. Either way, I think this looks interesting and could become useful in the future.

Adaptation B: Audio Wave Node Test #2

For this test I decided to use the wave deformer. I'm not quite sure how I'm liking the results since they are often either too extreme or they do nothing and I'm not quite sure how I'd work this into my project but I'm trying to not overthink it and to just keep experimenting. It may be interesting how this may work with attaching the Audio Wave node to some particles. I have an old file from last year where I have a plane dissolving from the center so maybe I'll try saving a version of that and experimenting with it. I've still been unable to get these to render properly, it'll either show up as a blank image or the first frame will have one shape, the second will have a different one, but after that all of the spheres are the same shape instead of always changing so I'm not quite sure how to fix that just yet.


Saturday, 25 February 2017

Adaptation B: Audio Wave Node Test #1

Today I've been trying to load up the Bonus Tools into Maya. It has caused me lots of problems and the individual plug-in bundles were not wanting to load into my Plug-in Manager. After quite a long time of messing around with my files in both Maya 2016 and Maya 2016 Extension 2 (which still causes me problems sometimes) I was able to load the plug-ins up on both versions. I chose to play with the Audio Wave Node with a random piece of music from just to see if I could get it to work. I used a video on YouTube to help me out, however it was done quite a few years ago so I had to figure out a lot of things on my own. Overall, I was able to connect the Audio Wave Node to a Time node, then go back and attach the Audio Wave node to different attributes on a deformer that I was using to move a sphere around. Unfortunately, I cannot seem to get it to batch render correctly but I'll continue to play about with this and see what is going wrong (either the sphere is stationary like there is no animation on it, or the rendered images are pure white). In the meantime, I simply playblasted it. It's not massively impressive, but I've managed to get certain things moving using a piece of music by using both the Hypershade and the Connection it's a start. Also, in order to get the Time Node and the Audio Wave Node into the Hypershade, I had to mess with some settings in the outliner so I could find them but luckily I figured that out.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Adaptation B: Virtual Reality Options

Today I met with JJ, a tutor from the Canterbury campus who has experience with Unity and Virtual Reality. I found this very useful, and I've done my best to jot down notes about the different things we discussed. I was happy to learn that the majority of my pipeline would remain in Maya, which is obviously what I am more familiar with. However, I also learned that the remaining work that would need to be done in Unity would also most likely need to be done with the computer that is attached to all of the VR equipment or else I'd be bombarded with errors and be unable to work properly.

I've learned that for the Vive, I'd need to download the SteamVR Plug-in, would give me access to the asset store. This would help me with dropping in the right controllers/cameras instead of the default cameras to allow head movement (apologies if I get any of this wrong or if I word it poorly). It would also give me access to different scripts that would let events such as sound effects (which is important and needs to be created as 3D sound) be triggered based on where the viewer is looking. This is similar to how it would work with Cardboard as well only it would be the Google VR SDK for Unity instead (and I'm guessing if I made VR for Cardboard that would avoid the issue of needing the specific computer and kit all attached since it's not for the Vive headset).

Since further investigation is needed in regards to the VR equipment at the Rochester campus, it was also suggested that I perhaps simplify my idea down in terms of technology and try to make something for Google Cardboard rather than the Vive at least for tests. After this meeting I went and I downloaded the Sketchfab VR app on my iPhone and tested that out as well. Both animated 3D models and 3D environments are available on Sketchfab and I think it was useful for me to return to my Goji headset to look at this option rather than immediately diving into the Vive. Unfortunately, my iPhone is small (SE) so it wasn't as spectacular as it probably would have been using a larger phone.

Sketchfab VR

I've tried to think of pro's and con's of both making a VR animation for the Vive and for Cardboard. I admit part of me is more drawn to the Vive because I feel it'd be more immersive and a higher quality experience. However, there may be issues with the equipment available to me at the moment and I'd need to plan on times to work on that specific computer. I also know that less people would have access to viewing my animation if it was made for the Vive rather than the Cardboard due to the cost and accessibility of the Vive in comparison to Cardboard. For Cardboard, I don't feel it'd be as immersive of an experience but would get the idea across. This is mostly because according to what I have read in VR UX and what I have heard in tutorials on, the field of view and resolution in the Cardboard is quite a bit less than the Vive (the Vive has more vertical screen space while the Cardboard is limited to widescreen).

VR Headset Comparison

Basically, despite the difficulties and perhaps having a smaller audience, I'd prefer to create something for the Vive since my project's topic is important to me and I'd like make it as immersive as possible. To me, having it made for the Vive would make it more impactful and higher quality, despite the added amount of difficulty.

However, I'm wondering if perhaps for this project I could test out the pipeline of using Maya then Unity to make a VR experience for Cardboard first...and perhaps as I bring it on for my third year I could alter that and use what I've learned to make it for the Vive if everything works. Apologies again if I said anything incorrect, I don't claim to completely understand the process but I'm trying my best to understand it better. Feel free to correct me.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Maya Pipeline 1: Spine & Skinning - Blending the Lower Body (Part 5)

Blending the lower body was a lot quicker than the upper body but it is obvious that the upper body is more complex because of things such as the fingers, sorting out the spine, and the clavicle joint. All of the weights mirrored across without any problems so now I can proceed onto the next tutorials about blend shapes.


Adaptation B: Idea Tweaks

After having a few discussions, I think I need to tweak my idea slightly. Firstly, I think I may focus more on body dysmorphia rather than overall 'mental illness' or anxiety. Part of this is because I feel that anorexia and body dysmorphia is seen a lot less in animation or video games in comparison to other mental illnesses. I find that its often unlikely that people understand anorexia/body dysmorphia in comparison to the others, so finding a way to express what it's like to others could be interesting.

In an attempt to describe body dysmorphia into words, I'm going to use one example but I know this differs from person to person. For one person, body dysmorphia could mean that person is unable to recognise themselves in a mirror...this could just be isolated to their body or it could include both their body and their face. For example, if someone with body dysmorphia was cloned or had an identical twin and had to pick that clone out of a group of other individuals, they may struggle to pick which one was the clone/twin. Someone with body dysmorphia may also find that their appearance constantly changes, and features that they notice one day may no longer be present the next day...for example, one day that person may think that their eyes are too far apart or are strangely shaped but the next day they may think the opposite. Another example is one day that person may think they are overweight but the next they do not, or they may think they are even more overweight than the other day (or throughout the day this changes) when in reality nothing has changed. Overall, the person's perception of their physical body is not reality and is not what other people see.

This is often difficult for people to understand unless they have experienced it before. This is similar to anorexia which, despite it having the highest mortality rate out of any other mental illness, is often respond with awkwardness and confusion. Often people frustratingly say "why don't you just eat" or "you don't look anorexic anymore" depending on the situation. The idea that a person does not feel hunger, ignores instincts to eat, or physically/mentally cannot get themselves to eat unless forced is bizarre to many people.

Both of these things are chemical imbalances in the brain, or sort of 'glitches'. And that leads me to a few ideas I had in regards to my project. Instead of going for the obvious representation of these feelings I have in my mind that are obviously grotesque mutated body forms, after getting feedback I think it may be more useful to simplify this down so more people can understand it instead of just being immediately disgusted or spooked. So using either a simple shape or later on using a model of the average human body, I'd want to experiment both in Maya and Mudbox and see different ways I could 'break' the model or morph it. For example, I could experiment with different automated processes in Maya such as rigging, skinning, or animation and see what it does to the model.

The reasoning behind this is because this automated processes are things that should just work, like how the human brain should be able to recognise its own body or how a living thing should just be able to eat...but people suffering with these mental illnesses struggle to do so. Basically, I want to try and use glitches and broken things in these software and see what it does to these forms and then I want to populate a space with these broken objects as a way to try and express these illnesses and feelings. I feel that the glitches and broken things I can use in Maya in itself could provide an uncanny experience/environment, even if it is not obviously so.

I think using some of the tools in Mudbox may be interesting to do this as well (I already sometimes do this when trying out new tools, only I undo it instead of working with the mistakes), or build upon things that I could make in Maya Obviously I am unsure exactly how to present these things at the moment, until I experiment more...but someone has already suggested possibly doing some sort of VR art gallery of these ever decaying, changing forms so that may be interesting. Perhaps finding other procedurally generated processes in Maya could produce interesting results as well. Overall, I want to take things that 'should just work' but are 'glitched', 'broken' or just wrong in some way and trying to present them in a way that compares them to how body dysmorphia and anorexia can affect some individuals.

Apologies for the long text post, but my previous posts were lacking in text and I've been struggling to articulate my ideas. I hope this is more on the right track, and I'm hoping my ability to put my ideas into more proper words is a positive sign. I'm also including a few videos that may not seem relevant but some I find interesting visually and I think may have interesting methods to explore (such as 2016 AICP Sponsor Reel by Method Studios). Some of the other videos I like the tone and may be something I may want to take influence from.

Maya Pipeline 1: Spine & Skinning - Blending the Upper Body (Part 4)

This tutorial took me longer than I wanted since I began it over the weekend and couldn't remember exactly where I left off. My Maya is still having issues with crashing as well which is frustrating, but I just try to save as often as I can. I think parts of it can still be improved but for now I think I'm ready to progress onto blending the lower body.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Autodesk Mudbox: Alberto Giacometti Sculpt Progress II

Today I continued to add some texture to my Alberto Giacometti sculpt. I also moved around some parts of the face to try and make it look more like how I wanted and I began adding some paint to the model.

Adaptation B: Thumbnails #8-12

At the moment for my thumbnails, I'm trying to stay relatively loose and somewhat abstract. To do this I've been just trying to draw forms based on emotions rather than using too many reference photos just yet. While it may not be obvious what things are exactly yet, I think I'm getting some interesting results. At the moment my focus is on getting across certain feelings and emotions rather than drawing too specific of an object or thing. Out of these, there's something about #9 I like and I feel it has more emotion than some of the other thumbnails I've made so far.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

World Animation: Israel - Waltz With Bashir

Often animated films are assumed to be bright, cheery, and aimed towards a younger audience. However, this is not always the case, even if it tends to be more uncommon. One example of this exception is Ari Folman's Waltz With Bashir (2008). This film is incredibly unique and inventive as it recounts Folman's process of retrieving memories he has lost about his time as a an IDF soldier. When Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982, Folman was only about 19 years old. He attempts to get a grasp on his role in the massacre of Sabra and Shatila by interviewing his friends who were also in the army with him. They all appear to have difficulty recalling their memories, most likely due to traumatic nature of the event the guilt of possibly feeling like enablers of the massacre. "Vivid and horrifying events leading up to the massacres are disinterred by the movie's quas-fictional 'reconstructive' procedure, somewhere between oral history and psychoanalysis...Folman's confusion testifies to the fog of war, or perhaps the fact that this fog is created as a way of not facing up to war-guilt," (Bradshaw, 2008).

Fig 1. Waltz With Bashir (2008)

The opening of the film is perhaps the most striking and thrilling part of the film. It immediately sparks interest, immersion, and emotion. "It's a personal film, playing out as a kind of mystery, sparked by a bad dream. No opening shots here of rolling tanks, belching fire from their flattened heads. No thrum of propellers or burnt foliage to shock and draw us in. Instead we have a pack of snarling, red-eyed dogs, pelting through a city under an oppressive, mustard-gas sky, knocking down street furniture while mothers clutch their children in fear. As opening gambits go, this isn't just gripping: it throttles." (Jolin, 2008). This opening sequence sets the scene for the rest of the film as it uses complex, realistic animation combined with a graphic novel style to convey highly imaginative and dramatic events...both reality and dreams. This compelling sequence is a recurring dream that Folman's friend (and fellow ex-IDF soldier), Boaz, has been experiencing suddenly in relation to his experience in the Lebanon War.  Boaz asks Folman if he remembers anything from the Lebanon War, which causes him to realise that he cannot recall much of his life during this time. This is the catalyst of Folman's quest to recover the memories that he has buried deep within his mind.

Fig 2. 26 Dogs
The themes and stories presented in Waltz are serious and heavy. This is not a children's animated film in the slightest, and should not be treated or viewed as one. Some question the use of animation for such a serious topic as the Lebanon War or the Sabra and Shatila massacres. "It might smack a little of filmmaking therapy, but Folman relates the stories of those he interviews back to his own journey with respect and care. And it's important to emphasise such respect: when you're dealing with sensitive truths, with stories of men being ordered into darkness with no idea of why they're doing it; of the 'waltz' of the title, danced by one IDF soldier while firing down a Beirut street, then animation hardly seems the most 'respectful' medium," (Jolin, 2008). A film like this was always going to cause controversy, but it still demands respect for all those involved. This story delves into the struggles of soldiers suffering from PTSD, a result of war that is far more common than people would like to admit. This is why animation, in some people's eyes, is an appropriate medium.

It can be argued that this animated graphic-novel style animation represents Folman's detachment from the events he experienced as a young, teenage soldier. The animation not only allows for us to see the expressions of those being interviewed as you would in a live action documentary, but we are also able to see their memories and dreams, "Folman is an Israeli documentarian who has not worked in animation. Now he uses it as the best way to reconstruct memories, fantasies, hallucinations, possibilities, past and present. This film would be nearly impossible to make any other way. Animation will always be identified, no doubt, with funny animals, but is winning respect as a medium for serious subjects," (Ebert, 2009). Not only does animation allow the viewer to see what the individuals have experienced or dreamed, but it perhaps makes the explicit imagery more palatable for a wider audience.

This is interesting, however, as other films containing violence or war in a live action medium does not seem too extreme for many viewers. However, the way that film presents the dreams and flashbacks of the ex-soldiers makes the film emotionally dense...even with the animation it's hard to not feel an aura of dread, regret and guilt. "Perhaps there is something obscene about how jaded you get, but eventually you stop cowering beneath the onslaught up on screen and suppress a yawn as another missile turns a building to rubble, another bullet-wound fountains with blood. 'Desensitised' is the word. Yet I don't think anyone will be blasé after watching Waltz with Bashir," (Quinn, 2009). Perhaps the inventive use of gripping, trippy animation with a combination of different types of music keeps the different stories equally disturbing by refreshing the audience. Each story we hear is different, with different personalities playing part in the individuals reactions to war. Each one leads to the grim truth that Folman and many other soldiers took part in and/or witnessed, whether it was actively or passively.

Fig 3. Memories
Despite the realistic graphic novel aesthetic the film has for the majority of its running time - Folman gives the audience a stark, harrowing ending. Once Folman finally pieces together his memories of his role in the Sabra and Shatila massacres, the film abruptly switches from animation to real live-action footage of the results of the tragic slaughter that took place. There is no more smoke and mirrors, no more drawings, no more crazy dreams. This footage is real - of real people, real death, real suffering, "Waltz with Bashir has attracted a lot of attention and a measure of controversy, some of it surrounding the very last moments of the film, in which the animation stops and the audience is confronted with graphic, horrifying images of real dead bodies. This ending shows just how far Mr. Folman is prepared to go, not in service of shock for its own sake, but rather his pursuit of clarity and truth," (Scott, 2008). It is easy to see why this footage would cause controversy, it is a difficult thing to see. However, it is the honest, bare bones of war and its impact on both the dead and the living. This proves that animation is not always for children, it can be used for a wide range of more serious topics - including PTSD, war, and dealing with your past.

Bradshaw, P. (2008) Waltz With Bashir At: Accessed on: 16/2/2017
Calhoun, D. (2008) Waltz with Bashir At: Accessed on: 16/2/2017
Ebert, R. (2009) Waltz with Bashir At: Accessed on: 16/2/2017
Horne, P. (2009) Waltz with Bashir DVD, review At: Accessed on: 16/2/2017
Jolin, D. (2008) Waltz With Bashir Review At: Accessed on: 16/2/2017
Quinn, J. (2009) Waltz With Bashir (18) At: Accessed on: 16/2/2017
Scott, A.O. (2008) Inside a Veteran's Nightmare At: Accessed on: 16/2/2017

Illustration List:
Figure 1. Waltz With Bashir [Poster] At: Accessed on: 16/2/2017
Figure 2. 26 Dogs [Film Still] At: Accessed on: 16/2/2017
Figure 3. Memories [Film Still] At: Accessed on: 16/2/2017

Maya Class: Dope Sheets III

Today we continued on our animations using dope sheets to determine where our extremes, inbetweens, and breakdown poses are. I've run into a few issues in Maya with my files constantly freezing and crashing and my controls disappearing for some strange reason again. Despite this, I've managed to make progress..I still need to add in a few breakdown poses and I need to add more poses to the end of the animation. After this, I'll be able to swap from using Step Tangents (it jumps from one pose to another without a transition) to Spline Tangents so I can begin moving things and cleaning up the Graph Editor as needed.


Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Adaptation B: Thumbnails #1-7

Maya Pipeline 1: Spine & Skinning - Binding & Weight Grouping Mesh (Part 3)

In this tutorial I had to bind the mesh to the skeleton and group the weights to the correct joints. The weights have not been blended yet, but everything is ready to begin that process. I found the fingers a bit fiddly because there were some tight areas where I would miss a few vertices or accidentally grab one that I wasn't supposed to, but I fixed any errors that I had.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Adaptation B: Possible Project Outcome, VR Research & Unity

After my tutorial today I was able go to away and find some more information about Unity, which will probably be part of how I make my animation for VR. I'm not quite sure how to use Unity, but I'm hoping that if I go to visit the VR studio at the UCA Canterbury campus, I'll get some pointers. I'll also begin looking at for any videos along with any information on the Unity website about how to use it and how to create VR. Luckily, Unity is offered as 'Personal' for free, so I've already downloaded it. Depending on how all of this works may change the outcome of my project but I hope that I will be able to still continue with my idea of creating something in VR. At the moment, I think I hope to produce some storyboards suited for VR, environment/creature designs, tests in VR, and anything else I can accomplish during this time. I also plan on doing the Lighting & Rendering tutorials along with at the very least a portion of the Games Modelling tutorials, although this may change once I learn what I'd need to create something in VR. I found a few useful links and books in regards to VR creation, Unity, and storyboarding for VR.

Autodesk Mudbox: Alberto Giacometti Sculpt (Progress) & Importing Reference Images

Today we continued working on our sculpting. I wanted to continue adding details to make my model look more like it's been made out of clay. I found the pinch tool helpful to make the edges on certain ridges sharper. We also learned how to import files as image planes to use for references while sculpting. I did not like how the image planes worked as much in Mudbox as it does in Maya, but it does the job.

Adaptation B: Influence Map #3

Monday, 13 February 2017

Adaptation B: Free Association Drawings

After focusing on the infographic, I wanted to try to get back into my Adaptation B project. I recall being told to try free association writing, which I have done already in my notebooks. I looked back over them and the notes I took after some tutorials and I decided to try out some free association sketching. It may be a bit difficult to see what is going on in them (especially the pen sketch as I could not erase and redo things) but here they are, I think there are some aspects of them that are interesting and I think I may continue doing drawings like this for a little while just to see what happens.

Cone of Cogency: Woman as The Witch

Things are still a bit jumbled and I'm sure there are bits and pieces I could/should strip away but this is what I have at the moment for my structure.

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Maya Pipeline 1: Spine & Skinning - The Skeleton (Part 2)

After creating the ribbon spine, I continued onto the next tutorial which was creating the rest of the skeleton. In this tutorial, extra joins were added in the shin and the forearm of the skeleton to give it a more realistic twist when the wrist and ankle rotate. I found this interesting/useful because I haven't thought about that before and I don't recall it being in the first year rigging tutorials.

Friday, 10 February 2017

Maya Pipeline 1: Spine & Skinning - Building a Ribbon Spine (Part 1)

Creating a ribbon spine wasn't as difficult as I imagined it would be when I saw the images of the three different types of spines. Luckily, most of the process was repeating the same steps, but it is clear that keeping the scenes clean and labelling everything properly is key to preventing problems and confusion.

Adaptation A: Submission Post - How To Build A DIY Frankenstein Monster

Reflective Statement:
Going into this project I was quite nervous about it since graphic design and animation are not necessarily my strengths. However, I wanted to do my best and use this project to hopefully improve on these sets of skills that I often put on the back burner. Overall I'm happy with what I have been able to make, despite my nervousness and lack of confidence at the start. I feel I was lucky because I had used After Effects to create VFX for past projects including 'Leviathan', 'Pikatti', and animating my 'Denoria' digital set. I'm happy I was able to learn more about After Effects because I realised early on how useful it can be especially when it comes to cutting down render time in Autodesk Maya by creating VFX in After Effects instead. I feel I could have possibly added more to the sound design, but I didn't want to overdo it due to the 'silent film' aesthetic I was going for. I had a few moments I was very frustrated with my music because I had to spend a lot of time desperately trying to loop it so it could last the whole length of the animation. In terms of design, wish I could have spent more time designing some of my assets, especially the monster. While I feel that the black and white works well for this project because I was influenced by Frankenstein (1931) and Young Frankenstein (1974), part of me wishes I experimented more with colour just to see what it'd look like. Lastly, I'm happy with how the animations came out and I think I was able to blend animation from the Plug-In 'Animation Composer' with my own keyframes and special effects effectively. However, there are parts of the animation that I wish I had more time to figure out, such as maybe having the needle actually weave in and out of the monster's skin as the head gets stitched on. Despite these things, I'm happy with the result and I'm hoping I continue to improve my graphic design skills in the future.

Thursday, 9 February 2017

World Animation: India - Sita Sings the Blues

Creating a feature length film using either 2D or 3D animation is no simple task. It is very labor intensive, it takes many hours of work and often large studios of artists, animators, and other individuals to create an animated film. However, Nina Paley's Sita Sings the Blues (2008) is something completely singular and unique, "A Pixar or Dreamworks extravaganza typically concludes with a phone book's worth of technical credits. Ms. Paley did everything in 'Sita' - an amazingly eclectic, 82-minute tour de force - by herself," (Scott, 2009). Sita was not created with large studios of people, the entire film was conceived and created by Nina Paley on her own (excluding the music and voice acting). The film took her a lengthy 5 years to create, and unfortunately the film has caused quite a lot of controversy due to copyright issues and due to the interpretation of the Hindu epic - The Ramayana. Despite this, for a single person to create a animated film of this quality all on their own is a massive feat, even if some people dislike the adaptation portions of the film.

Fig 1. Sita Sings the Blues (2008)

It is possible that due to the film being created by only Nina Paley, it missed some checks and balances that other animated films have. Since most films are made by teams of people, it helps keep the plot clear and flowing. "Paley's penchant for mixing styles - slick computer animation, chicken-scratch comic-strip drawings, and rapid-fire photo collages - only underlines the myriad of methods for spinning the same yarn, though the musical vignettes court repetitiveness," (Fear, s.d). It can be debated that the use of music ended up detracting from the film, despite it being an obvious reference to Bollywood style films. The songs felt somewhat out of place, considering the story (or at least part of the story) was an adaptation of a Hindu epic and the music consisted of 1920/30's jazz songs. The songs sometimes felt repetitive and dragged out the story longer than it needed to be. Despite this, it is nice to see an artist experimenting and trying out different techniques of putting together films.

Due to the differing styles throughout the film, some viewers may prefer some sections of the film while disliking others. As mentioned above, some may feel as though the musical scenes were repetitive while other scenes may be more appealing due to the different art style, story, or narration. Perhaps this inventive filmmaking style combined with a personal story woven into a tale that is important to the Hindu religion was simply too out there and crazy for the general public to accept without some sort of backlash. While the film revolves around Indian culture and the Hindu religion, Nina Paley herself is American, and her adaptation of the Hindu poem outraged many. "To sum up, 'Sita Sings the Blues' is based on an adaptation of the Ramayana, a Hindu epic, and some Hindus find the film offensive. Hinduism has a strong scriptural tradition of commentary and debate; there is often virulent disagreement," (Haas, 2011). It is a shame that people can be so easily offended by a Nina Paley's interpretation of the tale, especially considering the three Indian narrators within the film were debating the events that took place within the epic.

Fig 2. Narrators Debating

Perhaps part of why this adaptation outraged so many is because it not only takes a feminist stance and revolves more around Rama's wife Sita, but it also takes on other modern aspects that compare to the tale. Part of the animation is about Nina Paley's own personal story that share similar characteristics to Sita's tale. This portion of the animation is drawn very differently than the other portions of the feels scratchy, gritty, more organic and lively but also somewhat less saturated than the mythical tales of Rama and Sita. This portion of the animation shows how a young woman's relationship quickly falls apart when her boyfriend moves to India. "There are uncanny parallels between Nina's life and and Sita's. Both were betrayed by the men they loved...both died (Sita really, Nina symbolically) and were reborn - Sita in the form of a lotus flower, Nina in the form of an outraged woman who moves to Brooklyn, sits down at her computer for five years and creates this film," (Ebert, 2009). Due to this, it is clear that the film has many feminist undertones, some of which may cause conflict with people's beliefs of the Ramayana as the story takes place a very long time ago and the views of women were different and differ in different cultures and religions.

Fig 3. Nina Drawing
Despite this conflict of who can and cannot have an interpretation of religious stories, Sita Sings the Blues clearly took a lot of blood sweat and tears to create and is certainly an impressive piece of art. Even if individuals do not like the adaptation, the methods of animation, or use of music, it would be disrespectful to deny Nina Paley praise for her years of hard work and struggles. Paley was able to persevere through an assumably rough breakup, five long years of animation, copyright lawsuits, and people protesting her film due to the content. She still shared her work even though she could no longer make money from it - excluding donations. The film itself can be seen as a cautionary tale about relationships, but perhaps the most important lesson is the one the surrounding the creation of the film and Nina Paley herself. It is a prime example of the dangers of being a self-sufficient artist creating independent work, and how things can come crashing down in the blink of an eye...while also showing the generosity some people have in regards to support artists trying new things.

Ebert, R. (2009) Sita Sings The Blues At: Accessed on: 9/2/2017
Fear, D. (s.d) Sita Sings the Blues At: Accessed on: 9/2/2017
Haas, S. (2011) 'Sita Sings the Blues' Brings out the Bullies At: Accessed on: 9/2/2017
Scott, A.O. (2009) Legendary Breakups: Good (Animated) Women Done Wrong in India At: Accessed on: 9/2/2017

Illustration List:
Figure 1. Sita Sings the Blues [Poster] At: Accessed on: 9/2/2017
Figure 2. Narrators Debating [Film Still] At: Accessed on: 9/2/2017
Figure 3. Nina Drawing [Film Still] At: Accessed on: 9/2/2017