Zoë Kelly is a Communications Design Illustration major in her second year of college. She is studying her freshman and sophomore years at PrattMWP in Utica, NY before relocating to Pratt’s main campus in New York City for the remaining two years. Zoë is from Buffalo, NY where she has three little sisters and three very close friends who continue to be the main inspirations behind her artwork.
I’ve compiled 9 out of 11 total GIFs into a little website gallery. Having 9 makes for a symmetrical display, and two didn’t make the cut simply because they’re earlier ones that no longer matched the look I was going for.
Bicycle Day is April 19th- in the newer gifs I’ve done away with the text describing the holiday. I decided I want the animations to be able to stand on their own in any context, with the holidays acting more like prompts than the whole purpose. Now they’re more versatile I feel. I’ve been inspired stylistically by a lot of artists recently, and I have also decided to add that as a research element to my project- research on the color palettes and techniques used by artists I admire!
I’ve found myself running just a smidgen behind so we’re bouncing around a bit with the holidays! For this one I created the imagery in Illustrator then plugged the layers into After Effects, then I lightly played around with an effect in the background- I want to mess around with more filter effects in future gifs!
If you shift your gaze up towards the skies in downtown Utica, you just might catch a fascinating glimpse of the local Peregrine Falcons Astrid and Ares. They chose Utica as their home, and reside in a nest box on the 15th floor of the Adirondack Bank. I spoke to Deborah Saltis, co-founder of the Utica Peregrine Falcon Project, about the beginnings of the Peregrine Project and anecdotes on the falcons Astrid and Ares.
The project began 6-7 years ago, when Deborah Saltis was approached by Matt Perry. Initially she was in disbelief that Peregrine Falcons were really here in Utica before coming around to the idea and recalls, “I started to just look in the sky when I would go out and oh- that might be a- well that’s different? That’s not a pigeon?”. Matt Perry had been following falcons in Utica and noticed the Peregrines did not have a nest site yet, so he decided along with the Kirkland Bird Club to get involved and build a nest box. The nest box ended up being constructed right outside Deborah’s then office window, which is now a file room. Online you can find their nesting area being streamed by 6 cameras and frequent blog updates on the lives of Astrid and Ares atwww.Big-Green.net/falcon.
Peregrine Falcons are powerful raptors. While in pursuit of prey Peregrine Falcons can reach speeds of just over 60mph, like feathered missiles. Ares has been praised as an incredibly skilled hunter, and has been observed performing the most daring of ariel feats. A falcon watcher recalls, “ I have seen Ares do a stoop and get a pigeon. A stoop is when they go up to 200mph straight down. They go from really, really, high in the sky and they come down and take their talons as fists and punch their prey and knock it out. And I could actually see it! I just got lucky and was watching him in binoculars and I could see him hit the prey, the prey fall a little bit away from him, and then he grabbed it”. The agility and speed capabilities of the Peregrine Falcons are astonishing.
There are group opportunities downtown for observing the Peregrine Falcons. This year walks are scheduled April 13th at 10am, and April 17th at 6:30pm. The walks take you through the “canyon”- the area between the Adirondack Bank and the State Office Building. On the walks Astrid and Ares’s nesting site will be pointed out, and you can learn more about fledge watch and what to expect. Fledge watch is a spectacular show to see in the sky, where the eyases (baby falcons) take their first flight. Deborah explains, ”You need to come to see fledge watch, it’s how you really get to see these birds in action! There’s nothing like watching a Peregrine fly through the air, they are absolutely phenomenal acrobats. Once they fledge and the parents are teaching them to catch prey, they do it by either handing the prey off to them, so the mom is flying around, and the babies come underneath- and sometimes parents drop the food and the babies grab it. And that’s how they learn how to grab things mid-air, because Peregrines take their food mid-air”. Astrid has laid her first egg on April 1st three times in five years, and it will be interesting to see if it happens again this year. The canyon walk and fledge watch are both great opportunities to observe Astrid and Ares, and be shown what to look for in the sky. Deborah believes and most agree, “If you get here and you get a little bit of a show, you come back. How could you not come back! They’re just pretty awesome”. The Peregrine Falcons and the walks are a great reason to go downtown and participate in the community in a very interesting way.
For this holiday Gif, I practiced everything we have learned so far in Digital Prototyping class from stroke and text animator effects, to the parenting whip.
I took inspiration this week from a classic 5th grade science fair (from left to right: tooth in Coca-cola experiment, using a lemon to power a small lightbulb experiment, vinegar volcano reaction experiment). I kept the illustration simple to focus on the animation aspect.
Lots of practice with key frames in general, extra tricky making the bubbles in the coke and tooth float with cavities- but easy making the lightbulb glow.
For this weeks gif, I was feeling nostalgic and was inspired by the look of old video/ computer games. I researched tutorials on and experimented with the pixel art style, which turned out to be a bit trickier than expected! I made an initial ugly cinnamon bun, and learned that pixel art works best with limited colors and smaller pixels.
The process overall was very interesting. I spent most of my time actually drawing the image out, and added just a bit of simple animation in after effects. The pixel art was created in Illustrator with a 175x 175 square grid and the live paint tool to fill in every single tiny square. Fun really! But it took me from 3pm-12:30am overall which I didn’t plan on.
The Weekly Holiday is a personal creative exercise where I will practice animation techniques by making a short gif for miscellaneous holidays every week.
Each gif will be approached slightly differently in terms of style and animation technique. The holidays and their dates are according to my mini holiday themed calendar, which I am referencing for this project. Creating a holiday gif daily is too overwhelming, so I will only be choosing and animating my favorite holiday found in that week.
These holidays are for everyone to enjoy and for everyone to access. I plan on compiling my gifs into a website that anyone can find and view. I chose miscellaneous holidays because they’re fun for just about everyone.
I will be using primarily adobe programs and create the project digitally. Later in the project I might attempt stop motion. The holiday gifs will be all formatted the same so they look nice together. I’m looking into free web creation websites for where i’m going to put the gifs all together.
To stay ahead of the holiday dates, I will be working on them two weeks in advance. I will be posting the gif on the holiday’s actual date.