Thesis and the Semiotic Square

Executive Summary

Digital and traditional animation are often viewed as polar opposites, leading to debates as to which is better, and for animation, its true form becomes questioned. Rather than favoring one over the other, a converged viewpoint that combines both can achieve an expanded form of animation.  Through rigging a character with 3D software and animating it in the time-honored walk cycle, I intend on achieving a form of that convergence.


In some circles, a rift remains between the digital and traditional forms of art.  In one extreme, those who favor traditional means of expression exclaim that digital work is not “real art” because they are mediated through a computer and in their eyes, the computer does all of the work after the press of a few buttons or mouse clicks.  In the other extreme, traditional art is considered antiquated/nonprogressive and unable to adapt to the advancements in technology.  Either view is false and rather narrow, hanging on elitism that hinders free movement in creativity for those who favors both.

It is possible to converge the apparent polar opposites and open the way for new forms of expression.  One convergence, in the form of 3D animated entertainment, e.g. Toy Story, starts to blur the boundaries of realism and contrivity, eclipsing traditional animation as the dominant form in popular media.  Advancements in technology, ingenuity, and creativity now make it possible for 3D animated features to emulate reality in such a way that viewers become increasingly immersed in the world unfolding before them in ways that traditional animation has yet to achieve.  Conversely, due to the nature of animation, there is a freedom to exaggerate forms and movements and to retain a sense of realism.  3D animators can create from a wide spectrum, strict simulations of the real world to dynamic abstraction and exaggeration.  One can argue that traditional animation has the same freedom, but 3D animation offers another dimension.

One tool for 3D creatives to achieve a desired level of realism through motion is rigging, essentially the bone structure of an object/model to allow for movement.  Through the employment of rigging, I wish to demonstrate a range of movement through a walk cycle.


Semiotic Square

Below is a semiotic square that I had formulated based on the concepts expressed in Rosalind Krauss’ Sculpture in the Expanded Field.


The challenge was to take my area of interest, rigging and see where it falls in the disparity of digital vs. traditional art forms.  From the two terms, which are contrary to each other, I  had to decipher two additional terms that complemented the previous two while contrasting each other.  The end result was digital vs. traditional and animation vs. realism.  From the four terms, an expanded field becomes available which highlights convergence, from which I had to determine where my area of interest lies.


Published by

Ashaundei Smith

I'm a student and sequential arts enthusiast with big ideas, ready to leave my mark in the art world!

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