Saturday, May 27, 2017

Spring Sakura Digital Art at UMASS Boston and Creative Commons

IN the past few years, I had a very strong stint towards autumn/fall themes. This is probably due to us having very warm autumns and super cold springs, plus I was usually bedridden for weeks in the spring in the past 7 years. But, since it was Spring Semester, which ironically starts in the dead of winter, I decided to go with a Spring theme for the majority of my artwork this semester at UMASS Boston. That means SAKURA.

HONESTLY, full disclosure I HATE THE COLOR PINK! HATE IT! But, I don't hate pink flowers, or pink makeup. Weird, I know.... I was also fed-up with snow, and lilacs just didn't have the same vibes as sakura (cherry blossoms). Shocker! I know! Purple is my favorite color! But, whatevz... I went with pinks.

1 thing that I really don't like about studying Art at UMASS is the sheer lack of hands on training, lack of walk-through, and the emphasis more on dictatorial theory. My Digital Media class at least did have actual hands on, supervision, and walk-though demos most of he time. But, I went to AIPH and UARTS Phila. and well as BCIT Medford, which had ALL hands on, hours of time spent on working, learning, specialization, demo, and more. So, needless to say, I was often the person people came to for help. Or, I was sitting there with people trying to figure it out WITH THEM. If I DIDN'T know how, I was 100% honest and OWNED UP TO IT, but will still try anyway rather than worry about admitting I didn't know, and loosing face.

There were many things I wanted to do, wanted to learn, progress in, and I WISHED there was more time. One thing EVERY STUDENT universally agrees on is that we all wish we had MORE TIME to work on the Finals. Meaning final projects.

Honestly, I HATE rushing. I do NOT work well under pressure. I'm better when I can take my time, utilize ALL of my time, and do quality work.

So, much of my work was multi-tasked simultaneously so as to try and eek out every nano second. It was maddening, and stressful at times. During times I was NOT creating I was seething with aggravated resentment. Commuting, and work study jobs took time out of my productivity, and I have a problem with perfectionism to the point where I often get psychically sick over it. I also hate being late.

Since Adobe only gave me a small window of time to use their trail versions, and I had several computer crashes, malware viruses, and a Russian hacker robbed my DeviantART via PayPal, I was way past my limit. I'd promised myself I'd NEVER put myself though abuse like this, and somehow it ended up just as bad, or worse all over again.

I was super happy to get back into animation, where as I was scared of it. But, suddenly I was head-first back in. I found it was THE ONLY thing I wanted to do, all day, every day.

The first project I was thrust into was for Art On The Marquee. There was NO CHOICE. It was mandatory. This ONE project, which altho' I loved doing, was the source and cause of SO MUCH STRESS for me.

A post shared by Wenhua Shi (@wenhua_shi) on

I was stood up, berated, and given all sorts of conflicting demands. I'm a very lenient person, and if I like you, I'll put up with your faults, and so on, but there's just a LINE that you don't cross, and I get snarky. Well, I respected my teacher very much, and liked him a lot. But, he kept crossing that line, was incredibly hard on me, and in February once I was actually chosen to produce my animation, he BRAZENLY CROSSED THOSE LINES. 

Since last year, he'd acted as tho' this project was important and meaningful to him, and since January he just sprung it on us the first day. Mandatory. So, I understood (or so I thought) that this project mattered to him, and that it was important to him. But, he made a big deal about all 3 of us showing up EARLY on Thursday mornings to work on it together. He also told me to "take the initiative" because communication was (and STILL IS) an issue. I asked him many times: What do you mean "early?" What time?  he just told me he didn't know and "just early". 

So, because, I dunno, I have this weird thing called integrity, I got up way early, rushed to the university and stayed in the lab. I checked his office every 10-20 min, 1 person actually showed up. Hours passed. Then after 2:30PM he shows up, bursts into the lab stinking like food (we hadn't even eaten) pushes me aside, and tries to to this weird demo with the other girl in After Effects that makes no sense. he keeps messing it up, so trying to give some helpful input, he takes it the wrong way, and tells me to shut up. But, because I respect this guy, I keep my mouth shut and sit there.... 

I ask him where he was, and he lies to us both saying he was here all morning. I said no: I was here since 9:30, and she was here since 10. Then, he says, he was in his office. No he wasn't, we visited his office every 10 min, all morning and he was not there, AND he wasn't there at NOON, 12:15, 12:30, 12:45 or 1PM either. AND, we'd even wait there. 

It turns out he was doing a film demo to the movie club, whom didn't even care about it. 

He didn't answer emails, wasn't around during his office hours, and when he was there, he was running all over the place from room to room chatting with people but never in the lab, and if he was he'd ramble like a mad mad, and no one understood what he was talking about. When I'd approach him, he'd leave the room and say "I'll be right back" but actually went home. 

During February Break & Spring Break I had to go to the Convention Center, but he wouldn't even go. To my face he lied to me and said he would be out of town, and also reiterated this in writing in an email. He wasn't out of town, he was at home the whole time. He was publishing his activities to Instagram which we follow. 

I was beginning to feel used, resentful, and that this actually didn't mean anything to him. I kept feeling conflicted, and was often in denial. What? It's just this 1 time. Or, he didn't mean it.  Or, he's not that petty, he'd never intentionally do this sort of thing, he's better than that. Once it's a solid pattern, repeatedly, over & over, you can't make excuses for it anymore, and the stress starts building.... So, what was I doing all of this work for? I was doing it FOR HIM. He also didn't even credit me the extra 5 points to my final grade, and gave me an A-. He also kept taking on all these other jobs and projects, and went to places on the campus not related to the classes, and wanted us to do WORK FOR THEM like video games and so on. This is abuse. 
Mind you, this was someone I'd really looked up to, and admired. I'd stuck my neck out for this person. I'd believed in this person. I stuck up for this person, and saved his face many times, that he didn't even know about because he kept acting strange.

He was never available, and I had to get help from the person in charge of the project whom was way busier than he was. Also, that guy actually came to the campus and helped me finish it up on the final weeks, and never got to make it to the school before that due to blizzards. 

The day before the video final versions were due, all of a sudden he was in the labs. So, NOW you want to do your job? NOW you want to give me input? NOW you want to have a say? Where were you every week for months when I needed you? You don't get a say anymore. 

When the actual reception evening was held, he wanted me to save a seat for him, so I did. He put his stuff down, the scurried off. But, after that all he did was avoid me, he went to a table without chairs and insisted his back hurt, and that he wanted to view the Marquee, only to later sit down elsewhere WITH HIS BACK TO THE MARQUEE. 

He didn't want to be involved with pretty much any of it, including doing his duty as a teacher to me, it didn't matter to him at all, but he still wanted ALL of the credit.

He, and the university had me running around all over the place doing all kinds of things ALSO cutting out my productivity. I can't tell you how many times people didn't show up, or half-assed things. 

So, most of my work ended up just being experimental in nature, or exploratory.

Here's 3 of the Sakura Graphics I made:
I made them licensed to the Creative Commons for you guys.  There's a reason for this. As a person going through the student/educational system yet again, but in this modern contemporary world OI found it difficult to get images that were what I actually wanted, so I made my own, and I figured I'd apss it on to other students, and artists struggling with learning programs ALL ON THEIR OWN.

You can download and use them FOR FREE so long as it's non-commercial, and NOT FOR PROFIT.

Here's the animation experiments I acme up with in a limited time:

As simple as these animations are this was hours & hours and days of work, often all day, all night. I often had to redo everything all over multiple times, and even lost my temper. But, I've definitely learned so much from all of that.

Unfortunately, there wasn't time to do EVERYTHING I'd actually wanted to do. Hence why everything ended up being mostly experimental.

Final Animations:

If I'm being 100% honest and FRANKLY SPEAKING/WRITING I didn't actually want to do Stop Motion Animation, NOR 3D Printing much like last year how I also LOST my liking for Video Mapping after things not going right, altho' that's somewhat different. The ONLY reason why I used stop motion animation AND 3D printing was because he insisted on it. I was NOT even intending to have it in my final, but even tho' He'd told me I had free reign to do whatever I actually wanted, he changed his mind, because he has a bias in favor of those arts. Therefore, if I did NOT do those things it would've gone badly. It wasn't worth arguing with him over it, and he always would gaslight and change his story about everything.

I am NOT a 3D artist, I am NOT really a stop motion animation enthusiast.
Keeping it 100% REAL.
It's NOT that I can't do those things, or DON'T do those things... but, for me Stop Motion is too simple and easy. It's NOT the kind of challenging thing I'm interested in, and for me it's NOTHING for me to do. Actually, ANYONE CAN DO THAT even without trying very hard. It has NOTHING to do with me being an elitist, or a snob. I'm just not jazzed about doing Stopmotion Animation. I'm also NOT a MOTION GRAPHICS style of animator, which in my field of study isn't even considered an "animator". Why? Because I'm a traditional animator, and traditional animation is a different kind of field rather than just moving texts and gradient graphics over a video.

Traditional Animators are a different kind of breed, mindset, mentality, discipline, and so on. We draw. We like funny things. We have multiple skills that we integrate together. I specialized to be a traditional animator that was more on the Disney standard end, and NOT the Hanna-Barbera end. I realize that if you didn't study for this sort of field this analogy is totally lost on you. But, no matter how much I bend over backwards, and reiterate that I'm not a snob on this issue people will just see it whatever way they see it.

And, look. I get it. My skill level at present isn't what I would PREFER IT WAS. Let's face it, it just isn't. But, that's my point. I want to build it back up, and strive for the things that matter to me AS AN ARTIST.

I actually reshot my stop motion animation multiple times due to color keying issues in Adobe After Effects of Premiere, like Green Screen, which he insisted I do.

Remind me again. Why am I doing this? For him? Or for me? Well, if its about the grade, it's him... but, trying to please people by NOT being who I am is just NOT the way to go, especially when it's a cycle of contradiction, accountability, unprofessionalism, and abuse. Even at this moment I just DON'T understand how all of this devolved so badly. Like milk turning into curdled mush. I can't allow someone to bully me, and lie to me. I am so profoundly disappointed with him. I can't work with someone like that. :(

I need things that are the right kind of challenge, and environment for me as a person, as an artist. I'm really grateful to actually be back doing animation, I just wish it didn't spoil and go rotten.

I'm not slandering. I'm just stating my experience. 

Anyways, here was my Final:

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