PICTOPLASMA questions and notes


It’s essentially a platform for character design and art. From illustration to animation, game to interactive design, urban to graphic arts. It’s usually a conference and exhibition held in Germany. This year though it was all online due to Corona Virus but it also meant we all had a chance to see everything that was on show without needing to go.

We were asked some question to answer after we’d watched PICTOPLASMA.

  1. What types and trends of animation are current? 

3D, 2D puppet and stop-motion seemed to be popular. Particularly that sort of Wes Anderson anthropomorphic animal moving puppets. Frame by frame is also still popular but in a more simplified style a lot of the time and often where the colours of the backgrounds and characters are textured.  

  1. Key influences: political, geographical 

There seemed to be a lot of loner characters portrayed in certain films. People either stuck in offices or on the edge of a social interaction of sorts. I don’t know if it’s possibly to do with the mind of the animator themselves because it is apparently a very lonely job at times. There was a Japanese girl called Sarina Nihei who I thought was kind of right where she said, “if you’re single and lonely, animation is your friend.” 

I did notice some feminist undertones and also body positivity. As far as geographical, the animations seemed to be vaguely influenced by the culture of the countries they were made in.  

  1. How has working remote influenced animation 

It has made people feel more isolated in one way but also it has perhaps influenced people’s mindsets on what to make their animations about and has maybe given more time to the individual to sit down in their own home and make something without having to commute somewhere.  People also have more connectivity online now since everyone has to work online so there’s more of a response to work.  

  1. Workflows and pipelines; how others have adapted to working remotely 

Sarina Nihei mentioned she hated doing storyboarding but felt it was necessary to help her know what she was doing and where to go next.  

  1. Analysis of 10 favourite animations, what I like generally, style, techniques 
  • One Unique Creature by Lawrence Arabia I liked because it was frame by frame and I liked the transitions between each scene. It was also quite trippy and psychedelic and gave me Beatles vibes. 
  • I liked Keke Flipnote’s stuff, his hand drawn animations of cartoonish animals dancing using his 3DS or PC because it was pretty basic but it would make excellent gifs.  
  • Gimme Summn by TNGHT I liked because it reminded me of Cool3DWorld I’m not sure if it’s the same person or not but it’s that similar terrifying style. An 3D animated nightmare basically. It must be using the same program though. 
  • Clown Suit by The Brothers Mcleod I liked because I instantly knew the character was supposed to be David Bowie and I liked the story itself. I was a bit like the Karl Pilkington animations were somebody’s voice is recorded and an animation is layered over the top of what is being said. I’m guessing this was a story David Bowie really said but they voice acted it themselves and did an impression of him that wasn’t too bad.  
  • Urges by Angela Stempel I liked because it was really colourful and the patterns were pretty retro looking. The animation was also pretty fluid.  
  • Lucky Chops – Traveler I liked the mix of traditional 2D on 3D painted backgrounds and the music was also pretty striking.  
  • Something To Remember – Niki Lindroth von Bahr I liked the Wes Anderson puppet animals style and the variety of different puppets in quite mundane, depressing real-world environments set against quite a sad song. The song I really enjoyed.  I couldn’t tell if it was puppets or 3D graphics. It may have been a mixture of both.
  • Good Intentions by Anna Mantzaris I liked this one because It genuinely felt like a proper film and what was happening on screen was actually making you want to watch more. The style sort of reminded me of Coraline perhaps. That same sort of spooky feel. The background music was scary/unsettling which really set the tone and I liked the fact they had real world brands in the little shop the characters were walking around in one scene.  
  • SH_T HAPPENS by David Stumpf and Michaela Mihalyi. I thought was very unusual which is what made it stick with me. The fact they were able to get away with drawing the woman naked was quite daring. And the giraffe character I found quite creepy. The general aesthetic I found quite unsettling to be honest. The garish colours and the depressive story. I did find it quite clever to make the characters change colours whenever they moved through a shadowed area.  
  • Morning by Vojteck Domlatil I liked because it’s bare bones traditional 2D animation on paper. And it looked complex even though there wasn’t any colour or anything else going on. Just the line work. 

I think I tend to like the 2D hand drawn stuff because it’s a bit more out there. You can make anything you want. It can also be big budget or amateur.  

  1. What areas would you like to move into? 

I like 2D frame by frame but I wouldn’t mind looking into more 3D stuff too.  

  1. Comparing studios and independents.  

I would say the more studio developed/assisted films tend to be more professional and higher budget looking. The more independent stuff tends to be much shorter with a snappy joke style narrative rather than trying to tell something more detailed and deep. Or even a music video that tends to stick with people more because it can be catchy and memorable. The studio stuff seems more like it would be good for a viral advert.  

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