TMC Storage Space

Time-motion pieces, whether it be live action films, animations, kinetic typography, or more, has grown up with me since I was a baby, watching childish cartoons, to this day, when I can appreciate the design principles they hold a little more. I’ve watched and kept in mind so many memorable pieces of motion communication, but unfortunately, when told to actually take note of them, I can only recall a few (should have kept a list going)…so here it goes.

Motion Design

Catch Me if You Can (2002) title sequence

No dialogue / Emphasis on text / Kinetic typography / Design Director: Kuntzel +Deygas / Production Studio: Nexus Productions
I think this is considered one of the classics of kinetic typography (or is it?), or at least, main-stream enough that everyone knows about it. The style reminds me of Saul Bass’s work in title sequences. I thought this particular piece was unique in its way of integrating type into image and how unnoticeable it was. The interaction between characters and text is also something you’d get to appreciate as you watch the clip for the second time. The simple depiction of characters, actions, and use of minimal, solid color backdrop is also one of the reasons why this piece is so intriguing. (Have I also mentioned how well the music fits with the movie?)

I Will Not Let an Exam Result Decide My Fate

Dialogue / Emphasis on dialogue / Kinetic typography / Typography: Saar Oz [Creavite] / Track: I will Not Let an Exam Result Decide My Fate — Suli Breaks
I wasn’t sure if I should include this in the ‘passage’ section or the ‘motion graphics’ section, but I will focus more on the kinetic type. Although this is a video done by a non-professional, I was really touched when I first encountered it because of how well Creative has used text, shapes, forms, and animation to symbolize what the message says. For example, the part where the written words become the hands of the clock, or the ‘value of x’ becomes the odd one against the society of ‘y’s (still getting shutters from that one). Not only that, he executed everything, transition, images, and type animation, well that the viewers can follow what the dialogue is saying easily without missing key animation on-screen and how they relate to the dialogue.

Player Two

Dialogue / Emphasis on message / Rotoscope animation / Animator+Narrator: Zachary Antell
I’m still trying to figure out if animations such as this one is considered time-motion-piece, and where they stand in relation to kinetic typography. However, this short animation stood out to me because of its realistic movements (didn’t understand how rotoscoping worked or how much work went into it at the time), and creative transitions (pin point to the game montage scene). I also liked the imperfect style of the drawings which make the animation look like paper cut(more like rip)outs along with the texture overlay. Rotoscoping is something I would definitely tryout during TMC.

An Experimental Study of Apparent Behavior (1944)

No dialogue (or music for that matter) / Emphasis on characters+narrative / Study director: Fritz Heider +Marianne Simmel
I suppose this is a real classic. I learned about this short experiment/animation during my mediated narrative class. The motive of this study was to determine if viewers can create a narrative and give characteristics to nothing but shapes and what kind of psychological reactions they have to them. It was interesting to see how each of my peers came up with a different story for this short film. Reactions aside, I think studies like this really help designers to see how elements and motions could be simplified while still getting the message across.

Superflat Monogram(2003)

No dialogue/ Emphasis on characters+narrative / Design Director: Takashi Murakami / Created for Louis Vuitton as Japanese commercial
Ahh. Takashi Murakami. Apart from this animation commercial, his work of art, especially textiles and illustrations, character creations, are really something. Trying something like the Superflat Monogram, especially in the early 2000s was really a fresh look in the advertisement industry. What I found unique about this piece was Murakami’s use of patterns in motion design. How do they fit into a 3D space? How are they animated? How do they interact with the 3D elements?

Speaking of Japanese and patterns, I will go ahead and stick one of my guilty pleasures in here. I apologize for any cringe-related reactions beforehand and strong rejections towards ‘anime’.

This is only a snippet, but the anime Mononoke incorporates a lot of traditional Japanese style and flamboyant traditional patterns and Japanese-play style transitions and story telling, which is something I’ve never seen done before. So if you’re into traditional Japanese folktales, art, and culture, and abstract-ism, you’ll enjoy this. It’s very artfully executed.

Disney Fantasia’s Rhapsody in Blue(1999)

No dialogue / Emphasis on music+narrative +characters/ Illustrations: Al Hirschfeld / Composition: George Gershwin / Performance: Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Out of all the Disney Fantasia short films, I have to say that this one stayed with me the most. I’ve watched it a couple of times on the video tape when I was in no more than elementary school, but I still remember it to this day. And when I found it to watch again for this post, it still gave me shivers down the back and by the end of the movie, I was so engrossed in the story and characters I was literally stuck to the computer monitor. Oh it’s so, so good.

Okay, all the marveling aside, I personally love how the animation goes perfectly with the music and how everything is timed. Usually, animators would find a matching bgm to go with their animations, but I can imagine that Fantasia worked the other way, ‘bottom-up’ process, a gardener, as Brian Eno would describe. The animators would listen to the music and then find a narrative and atmosphere within it. In this case, the streets of New York with stories of 4 different characters that intertwine in the end. It is so perfectly executed and each situation fits into the different emotions in the music like a puzzle piece. Bear with me, but I’ll say this one more time, ugh, so, so good. In fact, everything in Disney’s Fantasia 2000 is so good. If you haven’t seen it yet, I suggest you do it right away.

Electronic Superhighway (1995)

No dialogue / Emphasis on message(?) / Artist: Nam June Paik / Medium: Television, Electronic component, Neon tubing, Steel
Now we’re pushing the boundaries of TMC into fine art (or are they interlaced? I’m not sure). Nam June Paik was the pioneer of what’s called ‘Electronic Art’ and Video art. He coined the term ‘electronic superhighway’ which refers to what we now call telecommunications. This piece was his commentary on the TV-obsessed culture of America, but even more a possibility to use moving images as a medium of art. His exploration to bring video as a form of art into a physical form makes me wonder how motion communication can evolve in the future. Perhaps, now bringing 3D space into 2D?
Like this? Or this?

Designed by Apple
I am Sun Mu trailer
Paint Showers
36 daysoftype


Sheltering Sky

/ John Mackey
I was not quite certain about what kind of music is considered ‘run-of-the-mill’ or not, so I suppose I’ll start with this quirky piece. 
I happen to play this piece with my high school orchestra a few years ago, and it stuck out to me as unique because we’ve only been playing ‘old’ music, as classical and ‘modern’ music, as pop songs. I think classic contemporary is really underestimated as they don’t get much exposure to anyone except 1.those who compose them and 2.those who play (in a band/orchestral setting) them. It’s really great to hear non-classically composed music with the orchestra instead of computer generated instruments. Especially this song, with the crescendo before the descending scale, it’s calming and almost ephemeral. There’s something charming about the sound of that oboe.

The Alcoholic

/ Röyksopp
I randomly ran across this piece while stalking someone else’s twitter, but I found it really unique and mesmerizing. The sound of (what seems like a) theremin slowly crescendoing in the progression of the song and the beat kicking in draws you in and makes you stop thinking but only listen. The layering of the bird and rain sound effects in the end finally brings you to the next morning.


/ Youth Lagoon
I can never understand everything Youth Lagoon is saying in the lyrics (especially in this album) but I like that. It’s something that’s being said distantly and you have to listen very close to get it. I like the lazy feel of the music that gets boosted with as the beats kick in. There’s something nostalgic about the lyrics that can be heard that I think everyone can relate to about their time in high school and back home and then their time in a whole new place. It’s one of those songs that draws you in and you get lost in it. Perhaps it’s the repeating notes in the beginning that get layered with other sound effects?

Teeny Empty Urns

/ Kevin MacLeod
I think Kevin MacLeod is one of the most well known or most-producing loyalty-free music composer. I thought this piece was unique because of its sinister, yet fairy tale like quality, and although it’s composed in minor key, it doesn’t sound sad or depressing, but almost mischievous.


There was an afternoon in Wyoming, of all places, in Wyoming, on the way back from a reservoir in the mountains. And Erin and I had the windows down, I was sun burnt. She was tired, and I was too, from being out in the sun all afternoon. She’s beautiful and in that light, and seeing her smile, and laugh, and her hair in the breeze and seeing the sun setting over the mountains around us. I felt alive. I felt alive. I miss that.
I Wrote an Essay about Working Overnights

/Peter Nickeas
There is a breathlessness in this passage in an essay about a man who works overnight shifts for the Chicago Tribune. It may just be his writing style, but I liked that some of his sentences fall short and you can sense his glum attitude which may be a result from his trauma and stress from the job. He repeats ‘I felt alive’, emphasizing his longing for when he could ‘feel’ and leaving a lingering sadness for the readers.

Everyone succumbs to finitude. I suspect I am not the only one who reaches this pluperfect state. Most ambitions are either achieved or abandoned; either way, they belong to the past. The future, instead of ladder toward the goals of life, flattens out into a perpetual present. Money, status, all the vanities the preacher of Ecclesiastes described hold so little interest: a chasing after wind, indeed.
When Breath Becomes Air

\ Paul Kalanithi
This passage is from a book called ‘When Breath Becomes Air’ written by a neurosurgeon who dies of lung cancer. He writes about his experience and his life and what makes it worth living when he knows of his limited time. I chose this passage because of his message and word choice. His complex sentences and metaphor create a sophisticated impression and make his message memorable.

One glance down takes in a line of chimneys and fences and spires, the wind combing tufts of grass into silvery waves, rivers vaulting the ditches, two white horses running wild in a field, the long scarves of tarmacadam fading off into dirt roads — forest, scrubland, cowsheds, taneries, shipyards, fishing shacks, cod factories, commonwealth, we’re floating on a sea of adrenaline and — Look! Teddy, down there, a scull on a stream, and a blanket on the sand, and a girl with pail and shovel, and the woman rolling the hem of her skirt, and over there, see, that young chap, in the red jersey, running the donkey along the shore, go ahead, give it one more turn, thrill the lad with a bid of shadow…
Trans Atlantic

\ Colum McCann
This passage is from a book called Trans Atlantic, about 3 iconic crossings of the Atlantic Ocean by plane. I chose this passage because I love the vivid imagery. You can almost put yourself in the setting with all the descriptions of the view from above. I also love how the writing style blends in dialogue seamlessly with narration, which gives it a poetic, quiet, yet strong tone.