This paper will analyse Breer’s Fuji by juxtaposing it with Jeff Scher’s works which use the same technique (watercolour rotoscoping). The films share a rough, sketchy style and similar strobe/flashy effects, but the directors employ the shared craft in two distinctive manners. A major difference between Breer and Scher’s approaches is in the flow of motion. In Fuji, the movements of figures, landscapes, forms, lines and shapes are observably more rigid. I would assume they are extracted keyframes and not a close and detailed frame-by-frame work. Additionally, the single frame is held for a longer time interval then in Scher’s animations. Therefore, the animation holds a narrower diversity of frames per time interval. Due to these factors, it is more apparent that the film consists of still images and the flow of motion is less subtle.
However, this aspect of the work not necessarily a flaw, as the aimed rhythm of the animation is different. The nature of the portrayed subject is also distinctive, and the chosen style is suitable for the Japanese sceneries depicted. While Scher’s films aim for a naturalism that reflects on real-life observations through expressive motion paitings, Fuji is a rather mechanical depiction of an observational impression; “movement and time are mainly additional elements that he can use to explore extreme forms of collage, depth and illusions of minimal units of visual representation in time-based medium.” (Fore, “Romancing the Rotoscope”) Geometrical and abstract shapes, compositions and relationships dominate the screen, allowing less space for unplanned causality caused by paint splashes and hectic collaging, which makes the work far more minimalistic at the expense of naturalism and expressiveness.
Another major distinction of Fuji compared to Scher’s films is the incorporation of live action footage in animation, the means of which is to “orient the viewer’s perception and understanding of the subsequent cycles of pulsing, constantly hand-drawn lines and shapes.” While Jeff’s solution to the problem of achieving coherence in an assemblage-based film lies in careful and fluent depiction of motion in a vibrant and fast-paced manner, Breer compensates for his abstractions through blending segments of filmed footage into his configurations of drawn elements. The way a spectator makes sense of a rotoscoped footage is through a subconscious comparison to the original real-life representation of the subject, which defines Breer’s method as strongly direct, arguably too literal.
Comparing my experiments with Fuji, I would conclude that the second clip holds a slight resemblance to Breer’s style in its content of white unpainted space. However, it does not achieve the same extent of minimalism, but that was not what it was aiming for anyway. Unfortunately, it does not achieve Scher’s fluidity, which it was aiming for, either. The conclusion that could be driven from these comparisons is to strive for obtaining the expressionism of the paintings but enhance the attention to movements and gestures.
Fore, S. “Romancing the Rotoscope: Self-Reflexivity and the Reality Effect in the Animations of Jeff Scher.” Animation 2.2 (2007): 111-27. Web.