The dissertation is based on the objective of creating a multimedia art project based on Chinese arts and philosophy by using computer technology. The dissertation contains the description of the entire project as well as the research and literature review conducted around the topic. The project is carried out in the context of Chinese art and philosophy that is primarily composed by Taoism, Confucianism and Buddhism. The project presents the philosophies and thoughts of these schools of thoughts at different places because Chinese philosophy is combination of these three philosophies and Chinese people like and apply the blend of these thoughts in their lives. In order to present the concept of the project, the traditional Chinese poetries, images, calligraphy, animations and background music are used and Chinese arts and philosophy is portrayed in integration with computer based technology because to present the full concept of Chinese arts it is very important to portray different traditional art forms. The dissertation strives to be focused on the creation of an interactive art work executed in the traditional Chinese style by using computer based multi media technology. The project is aimed at presenting a full concept of the Chinese art from the perspective of multimedia art work that is supported by a research work focused on Chinese arts and the computer interactivity techniques. Chinese paintings are specifically focused and used in the project as one of the main subjects and the other forms of art like music, literature and poetry are used for supporting the entire concept and execution of project. The elements of the project are common objects of Chinese paintings like lotus flower, bamboo, rocks, rivers, mountains and moon. These objects are used in the project because all of these are the common as well as favorite subjects of Chinese philosophies and there are many concepts and thoughts that are presented through these objects in Chinese philosophy. With the help of 3D modeling software 3D Studio Max, Maya and other software, the objects are created in the projects while the interaction and animation of the project is set up by employing 3D web software Macromedia Director. Moreover there are different software used for the music editing and various other functions. The dissertation also describes the limitations faced in the creation of the project and also put forward some suggestions that can help the artists and students willing to work in the same field.
Chinese art has deep roots inside the history. It began almost more then 4000 years ago (Shirley, Glubok, 1973). It is influenced mainly by three major schools of thoughts that are Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism. Along with these, the nature is the most important factor that has played an influential role in Chinese arts. In majority of Chinese art pieces the main emphasize used to be on natural objects like flowers and landscapes. This is because the three philosophies influencing the Chinese art propagate the message to love for nature that is why admired from the teaching of these school of thoughts, the Chinese paintings strives to impart the feeling of human sprit as well as the strength of the wind, water, mist, mountains and other natural objects.
Thus the nature has a very prominent role to play in the Chinese arts and the history of Chinese art has witnessed that the Chinese artist always relished exploring and expressing the timeless natural sceneries in their creations and there is great influence of natural object clearly scene on the work on Chinese artist through out the history of Chinese arts (Karin Albert, 1988).
Chinese arts have long history that is rooted in to the ancient time. There are many forms of Chinese arts that came in to existence and got popularity amongst the Chinese people along with the passage of time. Different Chinese art forms like folk arts, painting, poetry, sculpture, calligraphy, paper cuts, metal arts and music came in to existence and after getting appreciations from the ruling dynasties, philosophers and teachers, these art forms become part of the Chinese culture and traditional arts. As different Chinese forms are mainly inspired from the three philosophic schools of thoughts that’s why there is a link between all the Chinese art form and that link is in term of main subjects of the art pieces created under these different art forms. There is a broad range of subjects that is covered by Chinese arts. They use to include their philosophies in their art and create Buddha and opera faces etc in the paper cuts however in the Chinese painting nature remained the most favorite subject of the Chinese artists through out the history of Chinese painting. In most of the Chinese art there are some common subjects that influence the artist and a certain thought is presented by the artist through these objects. Nature is the most important source of inspiration for the Chinese arts and in different Chinese paintings, music, poetry and calligraphy different natural objects like moon, bamboo, river, mountain and flowers are focused.
The portrayal of nature in the Chinese painting is led by their belief that the sprit of nature has given life to each and everything that’s why a painter must capture different feelings of nature in the paintings. The objects used in the paintings include variety of natural elements like Zodiac animals, mountains, moon, landscape and opera faces etc. These objects are considered as symbols of long life and are commonly focused by Chinese painters. (Shirley, Glubok, 1973). These objects are great source of inspiration and Chinese artist see many lessons for their life in these objects.
The emergence of new technologies has brought many revolutionary changes in almost each and every field and it has changed the way people do certain things and actions. Art is also going through a phase of revolution and innovation due to the advent of new technologies. The advancements in technology pave new ways for an artist through out the history and the availability of new and advanced tools and devices of technology always compel an artist to learn their implications in his work. As a result of this fusion of innovation and tradition, the traditional means of expressions are displaced by modern means of expression. Artist now use variety of technologies like computer based software, tools and techniques for the presentation of their thoughts in more enhanced as well as advanced manner. The use of technology has brought many changes in the arts field.
The transformation in way of expressing has resulted in dramatic changes in the art work all over the world but despite being an efficient receiver of modern technology, China remains an exceptional case regarding the continuation of use of traditional means of expression through art piece. The Chinese artists are also making use of technology but they are not moving away from their traditional styles, subjects and inspirational objects. In today’s technology driven world Chinese artists do make use of computers for enhancing and getting support of their art work but the main theme, influential factors, materials and style remains the same and the Chinese arts and culture has not changes much over the time and for its individuality and attraction, all around the world Chinese arts is prized in different museums (Shen, Sinyan, 2001).
For example all over the world experts and critics highly regard the traditional Chinese painting for its theory, expressions as well as techniques used; and it is considered quite different from the western painting. In the emergence of advanced technologies China has also experienced great economical, technological and cultural changes in the modern ages but as far as Chinese painting is concerned, it is an established fact that the Chinese brush has maintained its own principles and style of beauty. In other words it can be said that the emergence of new technology and tools has not affected the Chinese arts up to an extent that the shape of Chinese arts can be changed in to different one.
The advanced computer based technologies possess the limitless capabilities to operate simultaneously as a medium, tool and context along with their organizational and interactive elements. The computer’s technical vocation enables the images to simulate almost totally the traditional artistic techniques. It can even improve them and many artists utilize the computer technology to utilize this benefit of technology. Due to the advent of modern technology the people’s life style has changed a lot. In addition to this their point of view in possible art from is also influenced from the technological changes. As the spread of technology has made computer a commonly owned and used object in most of the families, the Chinese artist are also in a position to easily afford to have personal computers. Due to this reason the use of computer is increasing in the Chinese arts fields as well and the Chinese artists are also learning, exploring and adopting different tools, techniques, multimedia capabilities and other computer based technologies.
This popularity and affordability of computers has given momentum to the use of computer software in the creation and modification of art work however for an artist that grown up in atmosphere of traditional culture of China, the use of technology to create an art piece is a great challenge. But the great and rapidly increasing role of computers in art could not be overlooked. Technology never stops changing and today’s computer technology has the capability to operate simultaneously as a medium, tool and context, in addition to its organizational and interactive elements.
The computer’s technical vocation enables images to simulate almost totally the traditional artistic techniques. It can even improve on them, and many artists use computer for this reason. These same techniques of simulation are also likely to propose to artists new means of changing the conditions of artistic creation and supporting innovation. As a Chinese computer artist, I am fascinated by creating computer art in the traditional Chinese style. This involves not only simulating a Chinese painting using computer technology, but also using computer animation, 3D models, and so on to present a full concept of Chinese art in order to facilitate artistic innovation from traditional beauty. The situation is challenging for the Chinese artist because he has to respond towards the changes according in the world to keep him and his work updated with the advent of technologies and at the same time he has to assure that he is not leaving the boundaries of his traditions and philosophies in his work. The technical vocation of computers enables the images to simulate almost totally the traditional artistic techniques and these simulation techniques also propose new means of changing the conditions of artistic creation and supporting innovation.
The Chinese artists while remain sticking to the traditional Chinese art style, also use to create computer art piece. There are certain attempts made to create a project that can present the Chinese thought using the computer based technology and there is some work done by the Chinese artists and organizations like QIN: Tomb of the Middle Kingdom by Time Warner Electronic (1995) and Recreate the Former Imperial Palace” by “The Watcher Multimedia” (1998). There are some other animations and films created in the context of arts like “Where is Mama (1960), The Cowboy’s Flute (1963) and Feelings of Mountains and Waters (1988) but none of these works really stands as a true representation of Chinese traditional arts because for the portrayal of traditional Chinese art it is very important to represent Chinese art forms like calligraphy, music, poetry, painting etc in blended form but in these project there are not different art forms presented so there is still requirement of some work that can present the Chinese arts in its real sense with the use of computer based technology, tools and techniques
In order to fulfill this need by presenting the Chinese arts in digital form, the project “Wind Flower Snow Moon” is created. This dissertation is focused on this multimedia project that involves the creation of Chinese art work by using computer software and technologies. The project not only focuses on simulating a Chinese painting using computer technology but also on using the computer animations and 3D modeling to present the full concept of Chinese arts. Different art pieces of traditional Chinese art forms are presented in the project in blended manner to present the Chinese arts in true meanings.
The motive behind the project is to facilitate the artistic innovation from the traditional beauty. The concept of Chinese arts is the combination of painting, poetry, music, calligraphy, poetry and philosophy, so a Chinese painting must associate with it music, poetry and philosophy. In this regard the criterion for excellence on Chinese art work is the expression that “painting in poetry and poetry in painting”. Thus keeping in view this expression, the project is designed as an interactive artwork that invited spectators to take the control of their tour of exploring within the colorful scene where the spectator will come across different art pieces at different points like paintings, music, calligraphy and poetry. This interactive style is chosen to portray the Chinese arts and to decently explain the philosophy behind the project.
The name of the project is “Wind Flower Snow Moon”. It’s a four character idiom in Chinese that was created to express that the beautiful things appear in fours seasons; spring flower, summer wind, autumn moon and winter snow. These characters are not put in the same order in the idiom as the order of four seasons due to two reasons. One is for rhyme purpose and the second reason is to hint that the beautiful things appear in all the seasons for example moon does appear in spring and flowers appear in summer as well and so on. Following the name, there the are four major parts of the project that are “Wind”, “Flower”, “Snow” and “Moon”. These four characters respectively indicates “”Moving”, “Growing” “Conflict” and “Tranquility”, that are the four major expressions of the Chinese painting. These parts of the project are shown through the creation of four different rooms of the project under these names and there are four different animations that can be played after entering these rooms. In this way there are four philosophies and thoughts are explained through the presentation of these four parts of the project in form of four rooms.
Some common objects of Chinese brush painting and subject of Chinese poetry, such as lotus flowers, bamboo, rocks, fish, Yin Yang ball, rivers and moon are also used to assist presenting the traditional Chinese thoughts as well as the philosophy context. Different characters of nature are used in the project because without the portrayal of nature it is not possible to create an art piece in the context of Chinese art. The mountains, moon, wind, flower, bamboo etc are selected to use in the project because a Chinese classical garden could never be complete in the absence of water, mountains, wind etc. With the intention to follow their generalized philosophical statement, Chinese artists use to create mountains and water as essential manifestations of nature (Karin Albert, 1988) and this project is based on portraying and following this philosophy.
The project presents different traditional philosophies of Chinese arts with the help of the advances multimedia technology, tools and techniques and at different places of the project, there are different messages imparted to the spectator that are influenced from the traditional Chinese thought but they are presented in advanced digital form. There are four animations that can be played in the project after reaching certain points. These animations are also made on different software and different techniques are used in these animation but the objects present in these animations are the traditional subjects of Chinese arts like lotus flower, bamboo, Snow Mountain, fish and river. These objects are used in the animation to convey different Chinese philosophies derived from the traditional school of thoughts however they are presented in quite an innovative manner with the help of the advanced technology. Along with the animation, the project it self is an expression of the traditional Chinese arts because it is created with the help of traditional Chinese painting, music, calligraphies and poetry. These art pieces are selected mainly from the art work done during the ancient Tang dynasty (618-907) and Song dynasty (960-1127) of China.
All of these art forms are used in the project in a blended form to express the traditional Chinese thought with the help of advanced technology. Thus the project is an attempt to relate the traditions with innovation and the traditional Chinese art pieces, philosophies and thoughts are presented in the project with the help of computer based technologies like 3D animation, Modeling, Sound Editing and 3D interactivity.
This dissertation is complete description of the project “Wind Flower Snow Moon”. All the parts of the project including the scenes and animation are explained in the dissertation and the thought behind each of the action performed in the project is also explained in the dissertation. Moreover the dissertation also contains all the literature work done while creating the project.
In this context the traditional Chinese philosophies, school of thoughts, religions, history of art forms and other related is studied and explained in the dissertation so that the background of the project could be explained clearly and the reasons behind choosing and expressing different thoughts in the project can also be explained. In short the review of the Chinese arts, philosophy and religious history is done to provide the background of the project so that the reader even non familiar with the Chinese cultural traditions can understand the details of the project and different ideas presented in it.
Explaining the Concept of Project
The main concept of the project is to relate innovation with tradition and the entire work is directed to create an interactive multimedia art work that presents the traditional art forms of Chinese style and involves the use of computer based technologies. The projects attempts to present a full concept of Chinese art from the perspective of multimedia work that’s why the computer interactivity techniques and different software are used to present the traditional Chinese painting, music, calligraphy and painting.
The project is conducted in the context of Chinese philosophy hence the common element of Chinese panting like bamboo, water, mountains and moon etc are used as main characters of the project. Moreover the ancient art pieces are also used in the project in the creation of main scene, animations and the ending. The beginning of the movie is created by using the five basic characters of Chinese thought to give the very first idea that the project is all about the Chinese philosophies and thought. All of these characters are created in the project with the help of computer 3D modeling and animation software like Alias Maya, Macromedia Flash, Macromedia Director, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe after Effects, Cool Edit Pro, Adobe Premiere, BTW and 3D studio Max.
The concept of project is to explain the traditional understanding of life and as the name of the project “Wind Flower Snow Moon” describes that the project involves four different steps and each of the part reveals different thoughts and theories that came along within the influence of the view of the world from the perspective of an artist that is well attached with the traditions and at the same time, he is also a learner and follower of the modern technology. The project not only strives to portray an individual thought and philosophy but it revolves around the life of every human because art is a broad phenomenon that involves the people and their environment. In today’s world every one is influences by the ways of the predecessors and along with that the learning and trends of the surrounding world also play role in building up one’s way of life and perceiving different things.
The project is led by the concept that how a Chinese artist can make better use of his learning, knowledge and trends of the surrounding world while following the same patterns and philosophies of the traditional Chinese arts. Thus the project revolves around the Chinese philosophies and their presentations through the multimedia and other computer based techniques. The sources for the project are taken from traditional Chinese visual arts collection and these will be applied in different parts of the project. A characteristic of Chinese painting is being decorated to give painting a visual inflexion, rhythm, and swing effect. In some ways, Chinese painting should be understood as a moving expression, rather than a static image.
Some studies have been done, including Chinese poetry and art, 3D modeling and computer interactivity. Chinese poetry chosen from the Tang and Song dynasty was used as the context of project, with Chinese painting being the main scene of the project. Background music enhanced the effect of the project. This was chosen from some music using traditional Chinese instruments and was edited using the computer software package, Cool Edit. Certain related art concepts such as philosophy and calligraphy helped to fully understand traditional Chinese art.
This project is an artist’s understanding of Chinese art, the philosophical view of life, analysis of Chinese philosophy and art history. It is also aimed to express through the project that the Chinese people are ready to welcome and accept such blend of tradition, technology and philosophy that seems appropriate for their particular social as well as personal circumstances. The project also shows that there is great scope of Chinese traditional arts and philosophies in the advances and technology driven world because the Chinese artist are willing as well as capable of implementing the modern technology within their traditions based art work. Just like Chinese literature, the Chinese art can also be traced back to many centuries. The early themes of the Chinese arts were developed from religious and supernatural beliefs or from the natural environment and landscape.
There are some very important forms of traditional Chinese art forms that are going are developing along with time in the country for example one of One of the oldest and most basic forms of Chinese art is calligraphy, the painting of the Chinese characters with a brush. Calligraphy has developed as a pure art form with its own standards of excellence and later on the basis of tradition of calligraphy; Chinese painting developed a distinctive style that differs greatly from Western painting.
It is an important characteristic of the traditional Chinese painting that it is a perfect and blended combination of arts of poetry, calligraphy, painting, and seal engraving. For the project mountains and rocks, clouds and water, flowers and trees are chosen, these are the “four gentlemen” (plum blossom, orchids, bamboo, and chrysanthemums) as key elements for the project as they are common subjects in literati painting and their appearances meet Chinese concepts of philosophy and morality. The key elements of the project are bamboo and lotus that are taken as the first step of the project. Lotus and bamboo are favorite of Chinese traditional artists as for some their appearances meet Chinese concepts of philosophy and morality. The lotus represents stately beauty. Chinese poets use lotus flowers to inspire people to continue striving through difficulties and to show their best features to the outside world, no matter how bad circumstances may be. This is understood as being just like the lotus flower, bringing beauty and light from the murky darkness at the bottom of the pond. The bamboo has been an important subject of Chinese painting for centuries. Bamboo painting combines calligraphy with ink painting. Both ordinary people and scholarly painters can find meaning of flexibility but with integrity in its form. The basic idea for the animation of the room Wind, Lotus flower is derived from the painting of Qi Baishi. This painting is a perfect and typical blend of the arts of poetry, calligraphy, painting and seal engraving. The idea of the bamboo came from Xu Beihong’s painting which was inspired by one of Du Pu’s poems. Although the poem is not shown in this painting, the meaning of it is fully present. This is a good example of ‘painting in poetry and poetry in painting’ and the project also attempt to create work of such standard.
Another element of the project is landscape. The Chinese term for landscape are literally the two characters meaning ‘mountains and water’. Landscape is traditionally the most important subject in Chinese painting, as well as the most popular. In China, mountains are associated with religion because they offer a pathway to the heavens. Water, on the other hand, returns the mind to earth, keeping the human being in balance. Such subtle and contemplative works are traditionally considered as ‘food for the soul’ and they are only brought out on the most special occasions. The study explores the painting ‘Peace Reigns over the River’ (Qing Ming Shang He Tu).
The project is initiated by the intention of taking the traditional arts with all its beauty and depth to the modern life where technological advancements can be used for expressing these traditional thoughts in much more enhanced and effective way. The purpose of this entire study is also to take the traditions in to the modern world so that both of these worlds can reflect and support each other in blended form. In the initial stage there was just an idea that the project will show the still images changing in to moving picture and as the idea is further developed and refined, interactivity and 3D motions are also added in the basic concept.
The creation of the project has been inspired from some of the classical work done so far in the same context by different artists and animators. In this regard it is important to mention some of the magnificent attempts made by some of the artists. These works bring lot of inspiration for this project because there are lots of ideas generated from these work and these works are also among the motivational forces that led to the creation of this project. Some of the works that admired most in the process of creating the project “Wind Flower Snow Moon” includes “Where is Mama (1960), The Cowboy’s Flute (1963) and Feelings of Mountains and Waters (1988).
The film “Where is Mama” was created in the year 1960.
It is a movie that was based on the argument that “where there is a will, there is a way”. In the film this thought is presented by showing the story of a cloud of newly born tadpoles that are seeking their mother. In search of their mother the tadpoles made some very silly mistakes and they were not aware of the fact that they are engaged in doing many wrong acts however they don’t have any wrong intention in their mind but they were faithfully searching for their mother. This thought hints the actual human life that in real life the human beings also made sometimes many silly mistakes thought they have good faith behind their acts but the people don’t realize they that are committing wrong acts by keeping good intentions in their heart. The tadpoles seem very silly in the movie because they didn’t consider the question in all its bearings and keep on doing mistakes.
The film was produced by the film company “Shanghai Animation Film Studio”. In the film there was a good attempt made to copy and present the Qi Biaishi’s painting. The paintings of Qi’s are examples of fine art work and in the film there is good use made of these art pieces. After watching this movie, the cultural critic Mao Dun wrote a poem after the film in which he pointed out some of the critical views about the movie and the thought presented in it. The film is considered as an excellent art and innovative work that brings poetics, esthetic and philosophical context together. This film is among the initial attempts made by the pioneers who were trying to blend the traditional art with the modern technology.
This work is valued because it was the first animation in the Chinese ink painting style and the creators of this project showed a new approach in the movie by blending the traditional art work with the latest technologies of that time. Later there were some more works also done in the same direction following the spirit shown in the film. However in the film, there were no individual styles presented but the characters were simply copied from the Qi’s paintings and there was nothing innovative done with the traditional art work. As compared with this film, the project “Wind Flower Snow Moon” is innovative and not simulating because in the project the traditional art pieces are taken and then these art pieces are further worked out with the help of computing techniques; rather just simple copying and presenting the art pieces in the project.
Another noteworthy work in the context of art and innovation is “The Cowboy’s Flute” that was created in the year 1963.
It was an animated work that contains lit of common objects and characters of traditional Chinese philosophy like mountain, clouds, flowers, birds and people. All of these objects were gathered and presented within Chinese ink painting. The philosophical approach presented in this work was much more mature as compare with “Where is Mama”. The animations also very well explained certain traditional Chinese thoughts especially the Taoist philosophies were presented in the animation. There are some very importance Taoist philosophies hinted in the animations like “dream of a butterfly”, “back to the nature” and “the unity of heaven and humanity”. The animations reflected the Chinese philosophies in these animations by using traditional Chinese cultural background because these thoughts might not be understood by the people in the absence of the cultural context. Regardless of the philosophy content, the animation uses music cooperate with characters’ movement and environment change to make a poetics scene.
The producer was keen to bring every style of ink painting to the screen, which causes disunity. Moreover the project also missed some of the major components of Chinese art like poetry so it can not be truly stand as the portrayal of Chinese arts in digital form because all of the Chinese art forms are not presented in the project in blended form. As compared with this animation the project “Wind Flower Snow Moon” is more representative of the Chinese art because different Chinese traditional art pieces and art forms like poetry, painting, music and calligraphy are used in the project to support and present one another.
Another important work in the same area is “Feelings of Mountains and Waters” that was created in the year 1988.
As compared with the animation “The Cowboy’s Flute”, this animation was created in much unified style. In the animation the individual characters become sharper. The most important thing about the project is that there is no presentation of any specific thought or traditional philosophy but instead borrowing the idea from any of the philosophical story, the animator presented his own feelings and point of views on the project. In this way this work is also different from the project “Wind Flower Snow Moon” because in “Feelings of Mountains and Waters” the traditional Chinese philosophies and thoughts are not well presented and this work can also not stand as an example of relating traditional Chinese art with innovation because there is no presentation of different Chinese art forms and neither the traditional thoughts are reflected in the animation. However all of the above mentioned works are valuable contributions because these works are pioneering attempts of relating arts and innovation and all of these three are animated by sequent paintings which took many skilled people with lot of time to accomplish. Thus the project is created after getting inspirations from these pioneering works and despite the fact that there are many elements missing in these projects to be called as truly representative of traditional arts but these are good examples as well as motivational forces that are studied, reviewed and understood in details while creating the project “Wind Flower Snow Moon”.
Need for the Study
In the technology driven world of today’s every aspect of human life is under transformation and there is wide range of options present in front of people to perform different activities. There are also many choices available to people regarding the expression of their thoughts and ideas because now there are innovative means of expressing the thoughts available to people. People are now days more intended to keep them update and align with the advancements in technologies.
At the same time it is also very important that the people must know that how they can implement and make better use of the modern technologies to enhance the effectiveness of their work. The popularity and wide spread usage of computers and multimedia technology has given birth to the interesting issue regarding the potential use of computers and multimedia technology in different fields.
Like all other aspects of life, arts and the artists are also witnessing the changes and innovations in the technologies that have brought many changes within the art concepts and philosophies also. The invention of new material, designing techniques and availability of new concepts to focus the artwork upon, has dramatically changed the art scenario all around the world however the Chinese art still follows the traditional concepts and philosophies and it is regarded different from the western arts and philosophy mainly because there is still portrayal of the traditional thoughts and philosophies in the Chinese arts and the Chinese artists always strive to reflect their traditions and philosophic values in their work.
Despite being followers of the traditional philosophies and thoughts, it is a fact that the Chinese artists are also adopting, learning and utilizing different innovative and advanced technologies and for them it is very important to understand that how the computer technology could be used to enhance the effectiveness of Chinese art while remaining within the conceptual boundaries of philosophies and traditions.
The Chinese artists also realize the fact that there is need of some technology based work in the context of Chinese arts that can explain well the scope of Chinese arts in the technological world and the scope of technology in the arts field. There are some attempts made by Chinese artist and organizations to present the traditional Chinese arts through advanced technology for example in the year 1995, Time Warner Electronic created the project “QIN: Tomb of the Middle Kingdom”. It was an experience to bring the Chinese arts in to the digital world. In this project 3D animation and interactivity were brought together and the imaginary image of the tomb of the first emperor of China “Qin Shi Huang” was presented digitally. There is another work “Recreate the Former Imperial Palace” created by “The Watcher Multimedia” in 1998.
It was a 3D animation project that represented the construction and decoration of the biggest palace in China. Both of these works are important examples that provide ideas for presenting the traditional Chinese art forms using the computer technology however as far as Chinese arts is concerned it is combination of painting, music, calligraphy, poetry and philosophy; but in both of the above mentioned projects, all of these arts forms were not represented. So, despite the fact that the above mentioned work are excellent works in general, there is the lack of portrayal of full concept of Chinese arts in these works.
There are some another works also created by artists and animators to related arts and innovation like “Where is Mama (1960), The Cowboy’s Flute (1963) and Feelings of Mountains and Waters (1988) but none of these can stand as a complete example of true presenter of Chinese arts and technology. Thus a gap still exist in the field of Chinese arts and technology because there is great need to conduct an empirical art work that can take the art philosophies and computer technologies to a point where both of these can support and express each other; and this need is still not fulfilled in any of the project so far. Hence responding to this need, this project is aimed at creating an art piece that can describe the artistic use of technology or technological expression of artwork.
In sum it can be said that the need of the project is established from the fact the after realizing the importance of presenting traditional Chinese art work using computer technology; there have been some attempts made by different Chinese artists and organization but none of their work present the full concept of Chinese arts because there is not representation of all the Chinese art forms in these project.
This project “Wind Flower, Snow, Moon” hopes to meet this need because there is combination of different Chinese art forms including painting, poetry, calligraphy and music in the project and different animations, scenes and moves in the project are reflecting different traditional Chinese thoughts in blended form. The nature of the research is to create art work which brings traditional beauty and new technology together in order to show artistic innovation. The outcome of the study is a project that combines traditional art concepts with digital techniques. The idea of the project is to represent the progress of art, both cross culture and cross time. Thus the need for the project also arises from the fact that all the works done so far in this field are not true representatives of the Chinese arts and advanced technology but some aspects are missing in all of the works done so far. So the project is aimed to fill up the flows left in the above mentioned projects so that all the attributed missing in the previous works can be covered and an example can be provided that can claims with all proofs that there is representation of traditional Chinese art forms and technology is used very well to present these art forms.
Significance of the Study
The main emphasis of the project is to relate technology with innovation and the outcome of the study are expected to bring an art piece that would be technologically expressive. The project hopes of become a valuable contribution to Chinese arts and will provide the other artists new ways of expressing art philosophies with the help of computer work. As discussed above, there is still no work created by any artist or organization that truly represents the Chinese arts and philosophy, but this project can be viewed as an important example where there is representation of different traditional Chinese art forms in a blended manner using the computer technologies.
From this point of view the significance of the project is much increased because it is an attempt to fill out the gaps in work left by other artists and organizations. Moreover this is also an example that can be followed by the other artists and students. The students interested in creating Chinese art that have not had the chance or time to study traditional brush painting techniques, they can easily use what they learn from their daily lessons and achieve good art work and this project is aimed at proving certain ideas and inspirations to such people. The students and the art lovers will find many answers and explanation of the questions that might creep in their mind regarding the status of artistic philosophies in the modern world and the fusion of traditions and innovations. In this context the project is the explanation of the position of the tradition arts in the modern world.
The project will show the potential of digital art and use the traditional art concept innovatively. The software packages experienced and the methods used for this project may be valuable for other artists who want to create their own art work. The interaction and animation programming used for the project can be developed for other multimedia art work design, web design or game design. The way traditional art is considered within this study crosses the gap between traditional and digital art. It will offer opportunities for further creation.
As the study is aimed at research on and creating an art work which brings traditional beauty and new technology together in order to show artistic innovation thus it is expected that the possible outcomes of the study will be a project that combines traditional art concepts with digital techniques. The idea of the project is to represent the progress of art, both cross culture and cross time and this project will pave certain new ways for the students and researchers for making further attempts in this field. The dissertation that is based on the description of the project, highlights following important points
- The relationship of the chosen resources describes a full concept of the traditional Chinese art.
- A detailed project-creating process, explanation of the role of all elements within the project.
- An effecting comparison of traditional concept with the proposed digital interactivity representation.
- A detailed investigation of context, in terms of the situation (digital environment) and culture (Chinese art theory) in the project, their relationship to discourse in the Chinese art community, and how this can lead to an understanding of progress in creative art.
Objectives of Research
The main objective of the project is to present the idea that how an artist can get assistance from the advanced technology in the creation of his art piece and how advanced technology can be used for the presentation of traditional art work. The study strives to related technology with tradition and in this regard the common elements and characters of Chinese arts are used within the project to provide better understanding of the philosophies and their implications in the modern world innovations.
More over the project also give an idea that how an artist can portray different forms of arts blended within a single project for truly representation of Chinese arts. Thus the main objective of the research is to create a project in interaction with art and multimedia technology. In this regard different traditional philosophies and objects of Chinese arts are presented in the project with the help of computer based software, tools and digital techniques so that it can be shown that how the traditional means of expressions can be blended with the advanced means of expressions and technology.
The objective of the project is also to present the traditional Chinese art forms in blended form to explain that how different forms of traditional Chinese arts relate with each other and how one art form enhance the concept presented by the other art form. The connectivity of different traditional art forms and the commonness in the ideas, philosophies and objects used in different Chinese art forms is The objective of the project is very much ambitious however the execution of the original idea of project also see many limitations of computing capabilities and as a result the final work is bit different from the original idea but the main thought and objective of the project is achieved through the creation of the project and different forms of traditional Chinese arts are well presented in the study using the computer technologies, tools and techniques. In sum it can be said that the project strives to provide a deep understanding of Chinese thoughts and philosophies through the presentation of different traditional Chinese art forms in blended form using the computer based multimedia technology, tools and techniques. The project will show the potential of digital art and use the traditional art concept innovatively. The software packages experienced and the methods used for this project may be valuable for other artists who want to create their own art work. The interaction and animation programming used for the project can be developed for other multimedia art work design, web design or game design. The way traditional art is considered within this study crosses the gap between traditional and digital art. It will offer opportunities for further creation.
In sum it can be said that the project is aimed at meeting the following major goals
- Make use of the computer based technology to show some of the new way to express the older philosophy about art in the new media
- To demonstrate the possibility of using traditional art as a resource for created work
- To use the computer based technology for presenting art work both though simulation as well as innovation
- To identify the method for certain art design (use available digital resource to create an artwork)
- To express the traditional Chinese arts with all its depth and varieties means presentation of different art forms as well as different philosophic schools
Resources and Artifacts
There are different resources and art pieces included in the creation of the project. All of these art pieces are selected for certain reasons. Most of the art pieces like painting and poetry are taken from the Tang dynasty (618-907) and Song dynasty (960-1127). These two dynasties are thought as the culturally rich dynasties in the Chinese culture because most of the glorious poetry and painting was done during these ruling periods. The project is thus inspired by some poetry and paintings of the Tang and Song dynasties. The research focuses on visual art study in order to present Chinese painting with a 3D interactive project. This project is designed to present a full concept of Chinese art which is the combination of painting, music, calligraphy, poetry and philosophy. It means a good painting should be associated with music, poetry and philosophy. Different objects are chosen as key elements for the project like mountains and rocks, clouds and water, flowers and trees because they are common subjects in literati painting and their appearances meet Chinese concepts of philosophy and morality. The background music for the project is chosen from music for the instruments Dizi, Guzheng, Erhu and Pipa as these are commonly used to describe paintings or poems. The background music is accompanied by poetry to help spectators apprehend the scene.
In the beginning movie the five characters ‘Jin, Mu, Shui, Huo, Tu’ are shown that respectively mean gold/metal, wood, water, fire and earth. The mains scene of the project is created from the masterpiece of architectural painting, Peace Reigns over the River (Qing Ming Shang He Tu), by the famous Northern Song (960-1127) painter, Zhang Zeduan. This painting is chosen for the creation of the main scene because this painting can be easily set in all of the key elements of the project. In addition, it represents architecture and landscape design in the Song dynasty (960-1279), the dynasty just before the Yuan Dynasty, at which time literati painting was still enjoyed by only the nobility and scholar. The painting is a horizontal hand scroll silk painting where there are many objects painted however according to the requirement of the project, some of the objects present in the painting are selected and used in the project. Some artifacts in the project are decorated by painting and used to decorate the room, such as paper fan, lantern, and paper screen and so on. In the ending of the project seven character “cut shorts” poetry is used that is written by an outstanding statesman, essayist and poet of the Song Dynasty “Wang Anshi” (1021－1086).
The project uses Chinese traditional instruments to compose background music. The music used in the background of different scenes and animation is different however all of the music tracks are composed from the traditional Chinese musical instruments to provide the appropriate background to the project in the context of Chinese arts. There are five main instruments used for the composition of background music and other effective sound and these musical instruments are “Pipa, dizi, Guqin, Guzheng and Erhu”. The background scene of the introduction movie and the main scene are composed from Guqin. In the first room of the project Wind, the background music is mainly composed of Dizi and Pipa is sub-instrument. In the second room of the project Flower, the background music is mainly composed from Guzheng whereas Dizi is sub-instrument. In the third room of the project Snow, Pipa is the main instrument whereas Guzheng is sub-instrument. The background music of the fourth room of the project Moon is composed from Erhu and Pipa is sub-instrument. The music of the ending of the project is composed from Guqin. In this way these four traditional Chinese instruments are used in the composition of the background music of the project and along with poetry and painting the music of the project also represents the traditional Chinese arts.
In this section there is detailed information provided about almost each and every part of the project. In the beginning the context of the project is explicitly explained. As the project is created in the context of the Chinese philosophy and arts so different Chinese school of thoughts as well as art forms are explained in this section to provide detailed information about the matters where the context of the project lie. After that this section describes the technical work done in the creation of the project. There is different software used in the project for performing different actions and the technical part explains the use of these computing techniques and software for certain purposes. In addition this part also describes different phased and stages through which the project passed and takes the final and present shape of the project. The most important part of this section as well as the entire project is the project description part in which there are different parts, their creation and the thought behind these creations in explained. From this perspective it is the most detailed and the most important part of the project.
Context of the Project
The project is created in the context of Chinese philosophy, arts and culture and thus it is very important to understand different concepts held by the Chinese people on the basis of their religions and school of thoughts. The project includes the objects and ideas that represent the thoughts of different popular Chinese religions and traditions. The most popular Chinese religions like Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism are mostly covered in the project and in different animations and concepts of the project; the philosophies of these religions have been portrayed. In additions to this, different traditional Chinese beliefs, stories and poetries are also used in the project to represent different thoughts. Thus the project contains a combination of Chinese religion, traditional values, arts and culture; all being projected by using advanced computer software to explain that how innovations can be used to enhance the art concepts and how the art and culture can be represented by a computer artist belonging to traditional Chinese culture.
There are different thoughts of traditional Chinese culture that are expressed at different places of the project. The project starts with a beginning movie where five characters are shown. These five characters constitute the entire environment according to the Chinese belief. The main scene and the four animations of the project are also aimed at explaining the understanding of the Chinese philosophies with the help of the digital technology and in these animations and scenes, the traditions Chinese philosophies are portrayed. To understand the dynamics of Chinese philosophy it is very important to understand that the Chinese philosophy is mainly composed of three Chinese popular religions that are Taoism (Dao), Confucianism (Kong) and Buddhism (FO). The philosophies explained under these three schools of thoughts explain and reflect the way Chinese people view the world and life. These three are the foundations of Chinese morality, literature, visual arts as well as the political system. Anyone grown in China can not avoid the Chinese philosophy because it is reflected in each and every facet and act of the Chinese people. Thus to present the Chinese philosophy, it is obvious to understand and reflect different thoughts, principles and ideas explain by Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism.
What exactly is the Chinese philosophy is a confusing question because it is constituted by the teachings and inspirations of different school of thoughts and does not belong to any particular religion or group. Thus it is said that “every Chinese wears a Confucian hat, a Taoist robe, and Buddhist sandals”. It is very essential to highlight these three main philosophies because they are the main influencers of the Chinese philosophy however at many points it is observed that that the Chinese thought does not requires exclusive royalty and different Chinese philosophies are contributed by the beliefs held by Taoism, Confucianism as well as Buddhism. In the project also there are many objects and ideas presented that are inspired from the philosophies of Taoism, Confucianism as well as Buddhism. Chinese philosophy is also categorized in to different eras like early age, Hundred School of Thoughts, The imperial Era and Modern era (Lao Tze, p. 121, 2002).
Philosophy is the foundation of the Chinese thought that influences and represents the Chinese visual arts, music, construction and political system. It is an old saying that “every Chinese is a philosopher”. It shows that even in the modern age, there is too much importance of philosophy in the life of Chinese people that can not be ignored and to understand the context of the project, it is mandatory to describe the Chinese philosophies and their influences on the Chinese arts so that different concepts and ideas presented in the project become clear and a logic for including those concept and idea in the project can also be found.
Chinese philosophy and art have deep roots inside the ancient history and they are often categorized in to different periods according to the ruling dynasties of China. The advancements in technology and the influences of different philosophers and religious scholars also inspired the Chinese arts and philosophy very much. It is believes that the Chinese philosophy has thousand years of history and in the ancient Chinese doctrine Yi Jing that is called the “Book of Change”; the most fundamental concepts of Chinese philosophy are defined. The main Chinese schools of thoughts include Confucianism that is the collective teachings of the Chinese sage Confucius. Confucius lived during the time period of 550 BCE to 479 BCE. (Lao Tze, p. 121, 2002) Confucius propagated the philosophies related to different aspects of human life. Specifically his philosophies were focused on different fields including politics, social life, governmental issues, ways of spending life and interaction with people. Confucianism mainly emphases upon the morality, correctness of social relations, justice, following traditions and be sincere with others. An important and the world first meritocracy is also created by Confucius that the status of a man should be determined on the basis of his abilities and not on the basis of his ancestry, wealth, or friendship. These teachings of Confucius have great influence upon the culture and social life of the Chinese people. Another important school of thought is Taoism that was a philosophy in the beginning but then it developed to become a religion and soon it became the popular religion of the Chinese people. Taoism is based mainly on two text; these are Tao Te Ching also called Dao Dé Jīng and it is ascribed to Laozi; the second text is the Zhuangzi that is partly ascribed to Zhuangzi) (Flew and Priest, p. 97, 2002). Taoism also teaches to adopt good values in life and it emphasis on the strength of softness, morality and relativism. Another important and popular religion of the Chinese people is Buddhism that is based on the teachings of Gautama Buddha. Buddhism is not only a religion but the Chinese people believe that Buddhism is a complete and practical philosophy as well psychology that defines the principle to spend the life in a certain way. Buddhism ask its followers to secure consciousness and levels of truth (Fu Tze, p.766, 1998).
The history of the Chinese philosophy has witnessed that Chinese philosophy remain critical as well as tolerant of one other that’s why during different rules of different dynasties when one schools of thought was officially adopted by the ruling elite; they put no ban or restriction on the people to follow that particulate school of thought but the people were allowed to follow the philosophies that admire them most (Fu Tze, p. 766, 1998). In fact the people following different school of thoughts used to share their ideas and beliefs with each other and this culture gave birth to various concepts adopted by different schools of thoughts. (Lao Tze, p. 121, 2002) An example of this tolerance is the emergence of Neo-Confucianism that came in to existence as a revised vision of the Confucianism and there are many philosophies and principles are Taoism, Buddhism and Legalism that become part of Neo Confucianism. Thus it is an established fact that the Chinese philosophy is a combination of thoughts and principles preached by different school of thoughts (Flew, Priest, p. 97, 2002). This particular feature of the Chinese philosophy is also reflected in the project and in different thoughts and ideas presented in the project, the Confucius, Taoist and Buddhists beliefs are behind them. To present the Chinese philosophy it is not possible to stick to any particular school of thought and ignore the others; that’s why the project uses different Confucius, Taoist and Buddhists thoughts and present them in a blended form in from of the people. This is the only way to truly represent the Chinese philosophy.
Chinese art is the combination of painting, music, calligraphy, poetry and philosophy. It means a good painting should be associated with music, poetry and philosophy. The main criterion for excellence in Chinese traditional art work is ‘painting in poetry and poetry in painting’. So it is obvious that the typical Chinese painting must be a blend of poetry, calligraphy, painting, and seal engraving. An old Chinese proverb states, “A picture is worth a thousand words” (anonymous). This proverb suggests that the interpretation of painting is a subjective effort to convey the meaning of what an individual perceives according to his or her cognitive ability. Chinese painting represents Chinese thought which we consider as Chinese philosophy that mainly blended by Kong, Dao and Chan. Chinese philosophy has a history that stretches back to more than two and a half millennia, and has been shaped by the blending of different traditions. Before the unification of China under Qin Dynasty (from which the name ‘Zhongguo’ comes) in 221 BCE, there were many different schools of philosophy, the principle ones being Dao and Kong, both of which originated in sixth century BCE. Chinese painting in ancient time is not as colorful as the western painting. They are, just like calligraphy, using brushes, ink and paper. Color plays very minor role in a good painting. Although nature, mountain, human and other beings are the subjects of the painting, the main themes of the art works are purposed to reflecting artist’s imagination and thoughts. Chinese painting seldom resembles the true appearance of the subject but through the existence of the subject and the environment to bring the viewer into artist inside world.
The thought of people is shaped by its language and writing. (Mel Thompson, Eastern philosophy, p123)In Chinese, a word gains its meaning largely from the context within which it is used. The name of the project ‘Wind Flower Snow Moon’ is an (four characters) idiom in Chinese. It was created to mean beautiful things appear in four seasons, spring flower, summer wind, autumn moon and winter snow. They are not in the same order as four seasons because of two reasons, one is for rhyme purpose, and other one is to hint that there are beautiful things in all seasons, such as flower in summer and moon in spring. Four seasons is often used to stand for a lifetime or a kind of lifetime. This concept is used to expound different stages in life and artist’s study life.
Calligraphy is regarded as the highest form of visual arts in China and the neighboring states such as Japan and Korea, of which their culture are greatly influenced by China. Artists expressed their thought, imagination and feeling in calligraphy using only brushes, ink and paper. Chinese paintings are usually accomplished with calligraphy to name the title of the work. Moreover, brush calligraphy is using effect of light and shade to express artist’s character and feeling of certain topic. The project is using this idea to enhance the concept of the work. The thought of a people is shaped by its language and writing. To appreciate Chinese philosophy, it is therefore important to reflect on the nature of Chinese writing. In Chinese, a word gains its meaning largely from the context within which it is used. You can’t tell tense of a verb, for example, except by its context. What is more, Chinese characters are ideograms depicting whole concepts and those characters change as further ideas are added to them.
Among different Chinese art forms, calligraphy is regarded as the highest as well as purest form of painting. The traditional calligraphy is done from the ancient Chinese ages and they use a number of objects to do the calligraphy like brush pen, made of animal hair, and black inks made from pine soot and animal glue. During the ancient ages of Chinese history the calligraphy was most of the time done on silk but as there was invention of paper in the 1st century CE, people started using paper as the major material to do the calligraphy. In this way paper replaced the silk and become the new, cheaper as well as commonly used material for calligraphy. There are many original writings of the famous Chinese calligraphers that have been highly valued over the centuries. These writings are mostly mounted on the scrolls and then the people use to hang them on walls just like the paintings.
It is therefore a good written language in which to set a number of complex ideas next to one another, hinting at their relationship. It is not so easy to weld concepts into a logical argument in Chinese. One of the first impressions you receive when reading a traditional work of Chinese philosophy, such as the Analects of Confucius, is that you are presented with nuggets of wisdom, but not long arguments; you have advice for living well and harmoniously, but little explanation of the rationale behind such advice.
It is also important to recognize the very conservative nature of Chinese writing. It has changed very little since the earliest philosophy was written. Contrast this with the process of terms and their meanings, whose English equivalents may themselves have been influenced by earlier Latin translations. A Chinese scholar examines and interprets characters which have remained almost unchanged in meaning since they were first written. Layout design is very important to Chinese visual art. Everything is on the paper for a reason, includes the space leaving (Margin Leaving). Even paper, pen and ink are all have some philosophy reason behind them. ‘Margin leaving’ is a unique visual language within Chinese painting. Artists use ‘Margin leaving’ to decorate artwork as well as create certain artistic conception for the subject. In addition to this “music is one of the four arts in ancient China. The history of Chinese music can be dated back to about 7,000 years ago. Traditional Chinese music can be traced back 7,000 – 8,000 years based on the discovery of a bone flute made in the Neolithic Age. Chinese music instruments may be classified into the following three categories, string, wind, and percussion instruments. String instruments may be further divided into the two sub categories, bowed string instruments and plucked string instruments. They were also traditionally classified by the material of which they were made”. There in lot of variation on the Chinese musical instrument with respect to variations of rhythm, beat, tone quality, and embellishments. Due to these qualities the Chinese music is and musical instruments are highly distinctive and unlike their Western counterparts. This is mainly because the Chinese musical instruments have different and unique sound and the playing style of these instruments is also different from the other musical instruments of different parts of the world. The Chinese orchestra is the mixture of many of the cultural traditions of China and it represents the cultural heritage of ancient China. The Chinese musical instruments can be classified in to four different sections.
- “Plucked-strings – Pipa, Liuqin, Yangqin, Ruan, Yueqin, Guzheng, Guqin, Sanxian, etc
- Bowed-strings – Erhu, Jinghu, Gaohu, Gehu, Banhu, Matouqin, etc
- Blown Woodwind instruments – Dizi, Xiao, Guan, Xun, Souna, Sheng, etc
- Percussion instruments – Bangu, Bo, Bianzhong, Tanggu, Muyu, Luo, Yunluo, etc”
The traditional music of China is basically pentatonic-diatonic; it means that the basic pentatonic scale of the music can be modulated within a diatonic context. The theory talks of 12-notes to an octave, but most of the compositions are overwhelmingly pentatonic with diatonic/chromatic passing tones. While playing and creating tones using the traditional Chinese musical instrument this thought is even truer then the more intricate scholarly music. In general it can be said that the traditional Chinese musical tones are simpler and seems familiar to many of the people due to the harmony and fineness. For the Chinese musical artists, the solo instrumental performance is the most serious musical genre and the Chinese artists used to emphasis a lot on this matter. Chinese people believe that best performance of a musical artist is that which can bring out harmony with one’s surroundings and a good performance must possess this quality. The traditional Chinese music is very subtle, and generally similar to poetic recitation. The typical Chinese music itself is clearly designed to be an abstract complement to the highly-developed poetic genres, and bears similar titles and the prominence of poetry and the aphorism in the musical pieces might help explain the restricted impact of vocal art music. Each of the traditional Chinese instruments has its own repertory however there are some classical compositions that are composed from these instruments collectively. Many of the traditional Chinese musical instruments are several centuries old and even now these are being used by the musicians in many of the compositions.
The project mostly portrays the natural objects because the Chinese philosophy emphasizes on the harmony of nature and different school of thought including Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism conveyed the message to the people that they should love and live near the nature. That’s why the natural objects are great source of inspiration for the Chinese people and in the project also different natural objects like flower, moon, bamboo, snow, fish and mountains are included to convey different Chinese philosophies. For example to symbolize the mind of a child with no thoughts, there are bamboo trees with hollow trunks are used and to refer the process of learning of an artist, the lotus flowers are shown with a dragonfly looking at different petals of the flower. There are certain other places in the project, where the natural objects are used to explain the thoughts and this is one of the main principle of the Chinese philosophy that the Chinese people view the natural object as great source of inspiration and learn various lessons from the natural objects and then thee lessons are applied in their life. (Fu Tze, p. 766, 1998).
Thus is it clear now that the project is made in the context of the Chinese philosophy and as the Chinese philosophy came in to existence as a combination of different schools of thought that’s why the project also combines different philosophies and thoughts that are explained by different popular school of thoughts like Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism and these philosophies are reflected in the project at different places to explain that how Chinese people view the world and way of living life and how the traditional Chinese art forms like calligraphy, painting and poetry are inspired from these philosophies. All of these thoughts are digitally represented in the project to provide an example of relating the traditions with innovation.
Background of Project
The project is created in the background of traditional Chinese art that is presented digitally by using different multimedia and 3D interactivity software. There are two important aspects of understanding the background of the project. The first one is to understand the link between different forms of Chinese art like music, painting, calligraphy and poetry and the presentation of these different forms of art in the project with the help of technology. The second aspect is to understand the role of technology in the field of arts and the developments that occur in arts due to the emergence of advanced technology.
Chinese art has a long history rooted in to the ancient periods. It is often divided in to different periods according to the ruling dynasties because during different dynasties line Song Dynasties, Tang Dynasty etc, there was different developments occurred in the field of arts and after passing thought numerous social, political and technological changes, the Chinese arts has now gained its current position. Chinese art is always admired by the religious personalities, philosophers as well as political leaders. There are different forms of Chinese arts like Fine arts, Performing arts, Poetry, Paintings, Calligraphy, paper art, folk art, music etc (Yuan, Sinyan, p.98, 1999).
Chinese art could be traced back to the Neolithic period where the people use to made pottery; later in the Shang dynasty bronze was added in to it. During this period the Chinese art especially the Chinese music and poetry was much influenced by the “Book of Songs, Confucianism and Qu Yuan” (Shen, Sinyan, p. 54, 2001). Qu Yuan was a remembered poet and statesman of that time period. During the time period of first to fourth century, Buddhism arrived and get popular in China and the art work conducted during this time period also went thought major changes. Chinese Buddhism art began to flourish; specially the calligraphy and painting were highly appreciated and refined to become an important part of Chinese arts. Later in the Sui and Tang Dynasty architecture and sculpture also grow well. In the Song dynasty the lyric poetry become a popular feature of Chinese art and along with this the landscape painting and outline painting become popular trends in China. (Yuan, Sinyan, p.98, 1999) During different ruling dynasties different forms of art got popularity however nature remained the main subject of all the Chinese art form during different time period. This is due to the teaching of most of the popular Chinese religions and school of thoughts that convey the message to love the nature. Chinese artist from the beginning use to get inspirations from different natural objects and this inspiration is reflected in every form of Chinese art including painting, poetry, calligraphy, music etc.
Thus it is found that during different ruling dynasties different art forms developed and nourished in China and these art forms are closely related with each other. Through out the history, the political and social conditions and the religious affiliations draw heavy impacts on the art work and the teachings of the philosophers and religious leaders are reflected in the Chinese art work as well. The subjects of different Chinese art form are similar and this fact has established the main link between different forms of Chinese painting. Nature being an important element portrayed in Chinese art and not only a considerable portion of Chinese painting, calligraphy, music is dedicated to this subject but also Chinese paintings mostly portray natural scenes and present different natural phenomenon. Mountains, Moon, Bamboo, Flower and River are also great source of inspiration for the Chinese art work and these elements have been portrayed in different Chinese painting. Chinese poet also used to write poetries and verses of these objects and describe their philosophies of life in connection with these objects.
This project also uses these different objects to present the different forms of Chinese art and these objects are presented with the help of combinations of different art forms like painting, calligraphy, music and poetry. There is a link between the Chinese art forms that is reflected in this project as well. As it is observed that along with the passage of time, there are different developments occurred in Chinese art work and the advancement in technologies has also made some significant changes in art work.
This project is portraying different art forms in interaction with technology and classical art pieces of Chinese art work are selected to present digitally. The beginning movie plays five Chinese characters (Jin, Mu, Shui, Huo, and Tu) that symbolize the Chinese understanding of natural phenomenon. These characters are digitally presented and appear on screen one after one; that not only shows the connection between these elements but also present this concept in digital way. The main scene in created with a building that is a part of the masterpiece of architectural hand scroll painting “Qing Ming Shang He Tu”. It is a very old painting of the Sang Dynasty but in the project the building present in this painting in digitally presented and all the features, architectural expertise and decoration of the building are very well shown. The technology is used to show the building in details and the architectural style of that era can also be seen in the project. As the project moves on there are different other classical art pieces shown at different places like traditional ink paper paintings, bamboo painting, flower painting, snow mountains, River, moon and Yin Yang ball. All there are important elements of Chinese philosophy and even in the ancient stories, books and artwork, there is description about these objects and different philosophies of human life are explained by referring these objects. In the project also these objects are used to refer certain philosophies and thoughts. The objects like mountain, bamboo and river are used in the project because in most of the Chinese art pieces these objects are necessarily included and it is thought that none of a Chinese landscape painting, or poetry could be completed without the description or portrayal of mountains, river and moon.
Though these are almost the same philosophies that are tough by the religious personalities, philosophers and artist many years ago, but in the project these thoughts are presented in quite an innovative manner because multimedia and 3D modeling is used for the presentation of these objects. Due to which all the thoughts and philosophies are presented in advanced and technology based manner. Moreover the thoughts behind the art pieces used in the project are further enhanced due to the use of technology for example in the animation the camera flies around different places to show that how an artist mind search for an idea. This though is easily presented with the help of 3D modeling and a still painting of the same scene can not deliver such a clear message that is delivered with the help of animation and 3D interactivity. Moreover the technology also allows the use of different art forms at the same time and when the project runs, different traditional Chinese music are also heard in the background along with the paintings and calligraphy. In this way different art forms are united and shown to the viewer at the same time. Thus the project is a digital presentation of traditional Chinese art work where technology is used to present tradition and the thoughts and ideas behind the traditional art work is further enhanced and explained in the project with the help of 3D interactivity and multimedia. The objects appear in the project like bamboo, lotus flower, mountains, snow, fish, moon and river etc are the components of nature and all of these objects are included in the project to explain certain phenomenon and concept. These objects are used in the project in digital form so that the thought behind these objects can be explained more clearly and significantly.
The presentation of different Chinese art forms in the project is back up by the research done in the fields of these particular art forms and it is found that different art forms have gone through various developments and changes in different ruling dynasties of China and to understand the background of the project it is also important to understand the background of the Chinese art forms.
Chinese poetry is also an important form of art that is represented in the project. If we look at the developments occurred in the Chinese paintings over the decades, it is found that there are many highly regarded poetries and number of anthologies produced in ancient times of China however the burning of the books by Qin Shihuang make big loss in the treasure of China. The “Quatrain on Heavenly Mountain” by Emperor Gaozong is the most highly regarded literary genre in China and the earliest extant anthologies are the Shi Jing and Chu Ci, dating to the spring and Autumn Period and the Warring States Period, respectively. The first major surviving collection of the Chinese poetry is “Shi Jing” that is known as the “Classic of poetry” (Stephen Owen, n.p., 1996). It contains both the aristocratic poems called Odes and the rustic poetry that refers to the folk songs. The traditional and ancient Chinese poetry is mostly composed of four characters lines. Chu Ci is another important lyrical and romantic anthology of ancient China. It is also known as Song of Chu. This collection is consists of poems that are mostly composed by Qu Yuan and his follower Song Yu. This collection is different from the Classic of poetry in a sense that there is use of lines of irregular length in these poems (Stephen Owen, n.p., 1996).
Chinese poetry has gone through various developments during the ruling eras of different ancient Chinese dynasties. In the time period of the Han dynasty there was evolution of the Chu Ci type of lyrics and during the next six dynasties of China this lyrics style remained popular and common style of Chinese poetry. However during the Tang Dynasty the Shi style of poetry got popularity among the Chinese people and it dominated the Chu Ci style. Shi along with the Fu style formed the twin generic pillars of Chinese poetry. After the Han dynasty there was rise in the Yue Fu style of Chinese poetry. It was produced by Shi Jing and called as the Music Bureau Poems. These poems are mostly composed of five characters or seven characters lines. In the modern era as well these five character and seven characters line poetry is commonly composed by Chinese poets. The poetry selected for the ending of the project is also composed in seven character lines.
By the end of the Tang dynasty there was another poetry format that got popularity in China and it was the Ci lyric. The Ci is the lyric style in which poetry is made in a way that they can fit with the pre exiting tunes. This poetry style is also labeled as “To the tune of (xyz) where the xyz stand for the name of the tune. This poetry fits to the rhymes of the tunes and then it is often sung but not necessarily composed to be sung. In the Song dynasty also this style was very common and the poets of the Song dynasty adopted this style to express the feelings of desire, often in an adopted persona, but the there are wide range of topics addressed by this lyric style (Stephen Owen, n.p., 1996).
The above mentioned styles of the poetry were adopted and followed by the Chinese poets for long period of time and even after the end of Song dynasty, the poetry styles including Shi and Ci were under use. However despite the popularity of these styles, both of these lyrics styles are not highly regarded. There are two main reasons behind this fact. First of all the Chinese philosophies need the strong bindings with the traditions and the writers and readers both expected that new works would not bear comparison with the earlier masters. Another reason was that the most common response of these later poets to the tradition which they had inherited was to produce work which was ever more refined and allusive; the resulting poems tend to seem precious or just obscure to modern readers. There were certain other factors that contributed towards the unpopularity of these lyric style including increase in population, expansion of literacy and wider dissemination of works through printing. These reasons become the base for achieving vastly increased the volume of work to consider and made it difficult to identify and properly evaluate those good pieces which were produced prophecy. On the basis of these reason there was some major changes occurred in the Chinese poetry and lyrics composition and by the end of 1920s there was rise of vernacular literature, particularly opera and novels. These means of expressions very soon become the major way of expression of traditional Chinese cultural values (Stephen Owen, n.p., 1996).
In the modern era the poetry composed by the new Chinese poets are called Modern Chinese poems or new poetry. In the modern age the Chinese poets generally do not follow any particular and prescribed pattern. The revolutionary changes in Chinese poetry have already occurred in the May Fourth Movement when writers try to use vernacular styles closer to what was being spoken (baihua) rather than previously prescribed forms. There were many famous and well known poets of the twentieth century in China that played important role in transforming the traditional Chinese poetry from the past conventions to take it towards the western style of poetries and lyrics. Xu Zhimo is regarded as the poet that make efforts to change the style of Chinese poetry and he consciously followed the style of the Romantic poets with end-rhymes. (Stephen Owen, n.p., 1996) This style was not common in the ancient Chinese poetry styles however after going through changes; the Chinese poets also adopt this style in their expressions. Another important Chinese poet of the post-revolutionary Communist era was Ai Qing. He also made some important contributions to the Chinese poetry by using more liberal running lines and direct diction in his composed lyrics and poetry and this style was vastly popular and widely imitated. If we look at the contemporary poetic scene of China, it is found that the most important and influential poets belong to the group of Chinese poets known as Misty poets. These poets are characterized with a unique attribute that they use oblique allusions and hermetic references. There are many well known poets that are placed under this group like Bei Dao, GU Cheng, Duo Duo, and Yang Lian. All of these poets were exiled from China after the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 (Stephen Owen, n.p., 1996).
Another visual art form described in the project is Chinese painting. In fact it can be said that the main art form used in the project are the Chinese traditional painting because in the creation of different scenes as well as animation and ending there are different traditional Chinese painting used. So the project contains major portrayal of Chinese painting. If we look at the history of Chinese painting we will found that the Chinese painting has deep roots inside the history and it is among the oldest continuous artistic traditions of the world. There are some basic changes occurred in the painting of the ancient era and the modern paintings of today because the paintings of the early days were ornamental and not representational. These paintings were mostly consisted of patterns or design and there was less use of pictures in these paintings. In the Stone Age the Chinese artist use to create pottery with spiral, zigzags, dots, or animals however some revolutionary changes occurred in the field of Chinese painting and during the Warring States Period (403-221 B.C.) the Chinese artist began to express their feelings by painting the world around them and different objects and people surrounding them. It is an important attribute of traditional Chinese painting that to create a traditional Chinese painting there must be involvement of the same techniques that are essential for calligraphy. In olden days Chinese painters use to do the paintings with the help of brush. They dip the brush in ink that can be of black or any other color and then made their paintings. In these traditional Chinese paintings oil is not used. Just like calligraphy, the traditional Chinese painting is also created on different materials like paper and silk. When the final art piece i.e. painting is ready, it is usually on scrolls so that the final art piece could be hung or rolled up. The painting used for the creation of the project is also a hand scroll painting that is created on silk and then mounted horizontally. It is a very popular presentation style of traditional Chinese paintings. There are different ways of creating the paintings and the Chinese artist do use to make their paintings on albums, walls, lacquer work etc. In the traditional Chinese painting there are mostly two type of styles followed; the first one is Meticulous and the second one is freehand. Meticulous that is also known as Gong-bi is referred to “court-style” painting. In the same way, freehand is also called Shui-mo and sometimes it is also termed as water color or brush painting. The Chinese character “mo” means ink and “shui” means water. This style is also referred to as “xie yi” or freehand style.
In different area and ruling dynasties there are different trends adopted by the Chinese painters. For example during the time period of the ruling dynasties of the Han (202 BC) to the Tang (618-906) dynasties, the Chinese painters mostly used to paint the human figure. Most of the portion of this time period painting has came from burial sites. The Chinese painters used to preserve their paintings on silk banners, lacquered objects, and tomb walls. The Chinese painters at large use to create paintings that were aimed at protecting the dead or help their souls get to paradise. The teaching of Chinese philosopher Confucius is another important source of inspiration of the Chinese painters thus it is the most common subject of the Chinese painting. Along with that the scenes of daily life were also commonly painted by the Chinese artists.
It is believed by most of the critics and historians that the highest form of Chinese painting is landscape. The trend of landscapes painting was not common among the Chinese painters however the time from the Five Dynasties period to the Northern Song period (907-1127) bring many revolutionary changes in the history of the Chinese painting and during this time the painters focused a lot on landscape paintings. Due to the creation of many landscape paintings during this time, it is also called the “Great age of Chinese landscape”. During this time period the Chinese painters mostly emphasized on the natural objects and portrayed them in the paintings as the main subject. Many of the Chinese painters like Jing Hao, Fan Kuan, and Guo Xi created many painting in which they used to paint the pictures of towering mountains, using strong black lines, ink wash, and sharp, dotted brushstrokes to suggest rough stone. There were some more famous Chinese artist that commonly used to paint rolling hills and rivers of their native countryside in their paintings. Thus these two basic techniques were adopted by the Chinese painters during these times.
There are some paintings belonging to older days of China that are still available for the people to view. Among these surviving paintings the oldest ones are from the period of the Chinese Warring States (481 – 221 BC). In this period the Chinese painters most of the time liked to use bits and pieces of painting on silk. They also used to create paintings on stones and these painted lacquer items have survived the ages.
The Six principles of Chinese painting possess great importance as far as the history and development of Chinese painting is concerned. An artist, historian and critic of the fifth century created these principles. His name was Xie He and he become very famous because he presented his “Six points to consider when judging a painting”. These points are explained in the book written be him. The name of the book is “The Record of the Classification of Old Painters”. Following are the six principles that are set out by the writer to judge a painting:
- Spirit Resonance
- Bone Method
- Correspondence to the Object
- Suitability to Type or the depicting of form
- Division and Planning
- Transmission by Copying
The royal court during the tang dynasty appreciated the trend of figure painting and due to this support it was the flourishing time for the figure painting in China. During this time period, there were many famous Chinese painters that used to paint variety of figures expertly in their paintings like emperors, palace ladies, and imperial horses in quite effective way. A prominent name among these painters is Zhou Fang who did great job in the field of figure painting and gave rise to the trend of figure painting. The court of Southern Tang (937-975) also played supportive role in the nourishment of figure painting in China. During this time period there was a trend among the Chinese painters that that use to make outlined figures with fine black lines and used brilliant color and elaborate detail in their paintings. There was another famous painter of this time period namely Wu Daozi who used just black ink and freely painted brushstrokes to create ink paintings and his work become so popular and praised in the country that people were excited about it and they use to gather in large numbers to see the paintings made by him. He gave new meanings to the ink and outline drawing painting. Earlier to this time it was regarded that the ink paintings are preliminary sketches and the outlines are to be filled in with color but from this time it was established that the ink and outline paintings are also finished art work. During the song dynasty the trend of landscape painting was on peak and the artist use to paint landscapes at large. There was a well known artist of that time namely Gho Xi. He is thoughts as the representative painter of landscape painting in the Northern Song dynasty. He was very famous for his landscape paintings and he used to portray depicting mountains, rivers and forests in winter in his paintings. During the time period of most culturally rich ruling dynasty of China, it was a common belief held by the painters and artist that the landscape paintings is the most suitable and at the same time the most beautiful mean of subtle expression because with the help of landscape painting the artist can show that how immeasurable distances could be conveyed through the use of blurred outlines, mountain contours disappearing into the mist, and impressionistic treatment of natural phenomena. Zhang Zeduan is among the most important and famous painter of this time period. The most important creation of Zeduan that is also used in the main scene of this project is “Along the River during the Qingming Festival”. He painted some very treasuring landscape paintings and among them the above mentioned painting possesses great importance in the visual history of China. The main scene of the project is also created by using the objects painting in this painting. There were many other Chinese artist of the same age like Ma Yuan and Xia Gui that adopted the same trend and they also used strong black brushstrokes to sketch trees and rocks. These painters also used pale washes to suggest misty space. The beginning of New Culture Movement pave new ways for the Chinese artist and soon the oil painting was also introduced in China and there were many other new trends adopted by the Chinese artist along with the passage of time however the traditional style of Chinese painting is still the same even after the centuries ago.
The advancement in technologies has bring about major changes in each and every field and the art work is also very much affected by the emergence of new technologies. The use of technology is increasing as a creative tool and artists are now taking advantage of computer based technology for the enhancement of their work and effective presentation of their thoughts and ideas. Computers and other advanced technologies are increasingly being used for the creation as well as storage of the art pieces like images and sound clips etc. Different computer creative tools are now commonly used by artists in the creation of their work like the animation, 3D interactivity, multimedia and modeling soft wares.
Thorough out the history of arts, it is observed that technologies have assisted an artist in the creation of their work because there are new creative tool provided by technology to the artist for their work. The availability of advanced creative tools allows an artist to learn about these tools to have command over their use and then to use them in their work. The availability and increased use of computerized tools in art field has led to the transformation of traditional means of expressions in to entirely new means of expression. Thus new art forms as well as innovations within the existing art forms are occurring due to the support of advanced technologies.
This project also uses different advanced computer based technologies for the presentation of traditional ideas, thoughts and art pieces in an advanced manner. The project is basically aimed at setting an example of expressing the traditional thoughts through advanced means. To achieve this goal there are many software, techniques and tools are used in the project to perform a variety of functions. Technology has allowed explaining different traditional thoughts and concepts in an advanced and more enhanced manner.
A characteristic of Chinese painting is being decorated to give painting a visual inflexion, rhythm, and swing effect. In some ways, Chinese painting should be understood as a moving expression, rather than a static image. The project utilizes animation and interactivity to present this part of meaning. There are four main tasks for the project:
- 3D modeling of artifacts
- Texture design of objects
- Background music editing
- Interactivity and animation design
3D modeling is the foundation of the project. After textures/materials are put on the model (artifacts and objects), elements for the interactivity scene and animations are ready. Animations are used to foil the name of the project as well as explain the philosophy idea behind it.
There are number of software used to create the project because there are different types of objects used in the project and there are different thoughts that are explained at different places of the project. The soft wares used to create the project are “ Alias Maya, Macromedia Flash, Macromedia Director, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe after Effects, Cool Edit Pro, Adobe Premiere, BTW and 3D studio Max”. All of these soft wares are used to perform different actions in the project.
“Adobe Premiere” played the vital role in the creation of the project because the final movie exporting of all the scenes and animation is done in Premier. “Macromedia Flash” is used to make the animation in the beginning movie of the five elements. “Cool Edit Pro” is used for the editing of the background music of different scenes including the beginning movie, animation of Wind, flower and Snow. The music of Moon is edited in “After Effects”. “3D Max” is used for the Modeling of the main scene and animation Wind. “Alias Maya” is the software used to create the animation of Flower and Moon. “Bryce” is used to do some of the modeling of Snow. “Longo” is used to perform different interactivity functions like collision is performed by Lingo to stop the camera moving beyond the wall. In this way the thought of discipline in life and study is presented with the help of technology. All of these interactivity parts, animation and modeling are then linked to the Director with the help of different software. In this way different software and techniques are used within the project to create the scene as well as to explain a certain thought.
The creation of the project also explains certain technicalities and challenges that are faced in the making of the project. It is realized that to achieve the best visual result from any software package or technique, it is very necessary that every work must be performed in detailed manner. However working in details on each and every part requires a large number of polygons with 3D models that means the size of the scene will be too big to run on a personal computer. Creating something beautiful with a smaller size file is one of the challenges. One way to solve this problem is to use suitable textures to make objects with fewer polygons that look like more polygons and to make single layers look like several layers. However, only diffuse mapping on the object can work properly in Shockwave and VRML movie. Thus, creating a suitable texture without using any trick in 3D modelling software is another challenge. There is a similar problem in animation. The only animation which can be exported successfully is frame by frame animation. Animation which is made by using Parametric Modifiers, such as Noise and Ripple, can not be exported to Shockwave and VRML movie. The animation which is carried out by changing the UVW Map or Edit Mesh is not available to be exported either. In addition, the confusing thing is the name. This is given as a texture name in 3D modelling software, but might not be the texture name in Director or VRML; furthermore, none of the Environment settings in 3D modelling software, such as ‘Atmospheres and Effects’ and ‘Fog’, can be exported into Shockwave or VRML. Thus in the project there are several techniques used to give an effect of multi layers by using a singly layer with different textures. These techniques are used in the project at different places with the help of different software so that the file size of the project could be kept at minimum.
To create the main scene of the project by using the landscape painting Maya and 3D Max software are used. These two different software packages are used to build the above environments for a numbers of reasons. Not only are they popular 3D modeling, animation and rendering packages on the Windows and Macintosh platform for multiple developments, but their open plug-in architecture makes them an ideal platform for a third party developer. The idea is to examine which one of them can better export results in Shockwave Movie and VRML so as to enable to make an interactive project online/offline. The Lingo for Shockwave movie is also a good way to present the project.
Some 3D modeling software packages were also considered for making the project. 3D Max Studio and Maya were chosen to be examined as these are leading packages for modeling, texturing and rendering. However finally 3D Max is chosen to carry out the work, not only because the size of the file from 3D Max is smaller then the one from Maya, but also because compared with Maya, 3D Max provides better exported results for interactive packages such as VRML and Director.
In this way different computer based advanced tools, software and techniques are used in the project to present the traditional thoughts, ideas and art pieces. This presentation of the traditional Chinese art work through the advanced technology is done to explain that how an artist can use the technology to relate the traditions with innovations.
There are some important phases in the project creation and different part and scenes of the project are created after going through a certain creative and thoughtful process for example the in creation of the main scene, there are some of the parts of the painting “peace region over the river” that specifically caught the attention and these parts were selected to be shown in the beginning of the main scene because they all content “in” and “out”. Another reason to select these parts for the main scene is that they can be easily composed into one integrated scene. Thus these parts are taken from the painting and presented digitally in the main scene to create the entire picture of a traditional Chinese art scene. The following parts were selected to be integrated in the beginning of the main scene.
The creation of these parts using the computer software was a time taken and very important part of the project making. The following images show some of the early works done in the creation of the main scene of the project.
In the creation of the main building of the main scene of the project the details for the structure of the building came from Forbidden City and the color scheme used in the “Forbidden City” were used in the creation of the building present in the main scene. In the Forbidden City there is yellow color used for the roof whereas red color was used for the walls of the room. Yellow color is considered as an important color in the Chinese philosophy and it is also among the five colors that represent the five elements; also shown in the beginning movie of the project (wood is associated with green color, fire with red, earth with yellow, metal with white and water with blue)) Accordingto I Ching, five colors are associated with the five elements and these five colors should match with the five elements as well as five directions. As earth is places in the centre among the five elements so the yellow color is considered as the pure color for the centre. I Ching explains the importance of the yellow color from the perspective of the traditional Chinese philosophy that “gentleman understands principle from yellow, standing in the middle (between the sky and earth), present beauty, expend it to the surrounding, practice it, it is the most beautiful thing to do.” Thus it is understood that the Yellow color is important and the symbol of purity according to the Chinese thoughts because of its central potion. It is also the neutral color that is also recognized as the most beautiful color of all.
Another main color used with the yellow color is red that is one of the major colors. It is believed that the mankind started using the red color from the early ages and till date is one of the most common and widely used colors of the human beings. In the early stages the red color represents the fire and the sun. Caveman used to dye the shells and animal teeth in red color, which was found as earliest ornament of humankind. It shows that the mankind was not only well aware of the beauty of the red color but they also identified this color as an important and representative color. This color is also very close to the human life in a sense that it gives hope and satisfaction to the people and the human feelings and emotions are closely associated with the beauty of this color. It is taken not only to represent the beauty but it also has been used for celebrations because it gives the message of happiness and joy. Due to this much importance of the two colors red and yellow, there are used as the major colors in the construction of the Forbidden City.
Though the reasons for using red and yellow as the major colors are understood but at the same time it is an equally important question that how to organize and arrange different colors so that they can best fit to the contents as well as to the purpose of the architectural arts. The color combination used in the art piece also represents the skills and aesthetic view of designers.
The Forbidden City was created with the intention to present the power and majesty of an emperor. The emperors mostly required the palaces to be huge as well as magnificent so the designers and architects used to spend lot of time on the allocation plans and spatial organization. Moreover they also have to use antithesis in colors employment. Color contrast means that there should be warm and cold contrast as well as complementary color contrast. Red and Yellow are the warm colors whereas blue and green are the cold colors. In roughly-perceptual color models, neutrals (white, grays, and black) lie along a central axis of the color space, and complementary colors will lie roughly opposite each other, across this axis for example, red and green, yellow and purple, blue and orange. When the cold, warm and complementary colors are put together they set off each other and together they become brighter, wider and more eye catching. At the same time this set up also give a neutralized look and brings up balance in the entire creation. In the Forbidden City there is wide use made of color contrasts. Under the blue sky, yellow roof is created and green patterns are used above the red walls. Moreover white pedestals with grey grounds compose a colorful as well as magnificent environment.
Thus the main building present in the main scene of the project is created digitally with the help of software by using same color combinations that are commonly used in Chinese traditional art word so that the look of the building can reflect the Chinese traditional style through the use of color combination and the aesthetic view of the designer is also reflected in the making of the main scene. In the same way the four different animations of the project are also created after picking up ideas and inspirations from different objects and philosophies and the color combinations in these animations is also selected keeping in view the contrasts, combination and the aesthetic view.
The project starts with an introduction movie that is followed by the interactive movie. The introduction movie presents the five basic elements of Chinese thought whereas the main scene of the interactive movie has come from the masterpiece of architectural painting “Qing Ming Shang He Tu” by the famous painter Zhang Zeduan of the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127). The painting for the main scene of the project is selected from the Song Dynasty because the Song dynasty is considered as the most culturally-rich and sophisticated age for China. During this time period there were lot of advancements took place in the fields of visual arts, music, literature, and philosophy and the values and traditions of the Chinese culture were enhanced during this time through the widespread printing, growing literacy, and appreciation for the various arts. Thus the art works done during this time period are good examples of traditional Chinese art.
The painting is a very long and hand painted silk hand scroll that is now placed in the Palace Museum of Beijing China and it is shown to the general public after every 25 years. The title of the horizontal hand scroll painting “Qing Ming Shang He Tu” is translated in different ways by different experts. For example some of the scholars think that Qingming can be referred to the traditional Chinese QingMing festival whereas some experts refer it to peace and order. Thus there are different translations for the title of the painting like the Going Upriver on the Qing Ming Festival, Spring Festival on the River and Life along the River at the Pure Brightness Festival. However the most agreed upon translation of the title of this painting is “Peace Reigns over the River” (Priest, p. 280, 1948).
The painting is a very beautiful artistic representation of daily life of the people belonging to the Song Dynasty. The entire painting is based on the theme of celebrating the festive spirit and it portrays the scene of the traditional Chinese festival QingMing. The traditional festivals are most important and celebrated part of lives of Chinese people. The historical experts and scholars believe that the painting is depicting the city Kaifeng of Song Dynasty and it portrays the traditional Chinese festival Qing Ming and at the same time it is also a common belief that this famous painting was before the fall of the Northern Song Dynasty in 1127. Though some of the scholars did argued that the city depicted in the painting is not a real one but it is an imaginary picture that is painted after the fall of Northern Song Dynasty but despite these arguments it is widely accepted that this painting is a treasure of the Chinese culture that truly represents the cultural heritage of the Sang Dynasty (Priest, p.280, 1948) .The distinguished importance of this painting from the point of view of Chinese art and culture became the base for selecting this painting for the creation of the main scene of the project.
The painting contains representation of different people belonging to different classes engaged in different activities. The clothing of the people, their life style, routine activities as well as architectural feature is also portrayed in the painting by Zhang Zeduan (Valerie, p.183, 1996). The painting is well known for the thronging human, architectural and topographical detail. It is said that “A painting such as Qing Ming Shang He Tu can be read as a kind of cosmography, a visual representation of boundless nature, human existence and the universal in spatial relationship. Nature and humanity, the myriad forms of life and their memorializing in art, combine here in a prolific, panoramic image”(Nicolas Jose, n.p, 2005).
The painting is closely related with the project because there is representations of different cultural and social objects of the society in the painting and all these elements are very closely linked with the Chinese arts and philosophy. As the painting represents the Chinese cultural and social features during the Song Dynasty in an effective way that’s why this is also called as “China’s Mona Lisa” and this is one of the main reason to select the painting for creating the mains scene of the project because there is adequate representation of arts, culture and natural beauty of Chinese people’s life in the painting.
In the project all the features of the painting are not included however according to the requirement of the project, the objects present in the painting are used. For example the main scene of the project is created in the building present in the painting and different architectural expertise of the Song Dynasty as well as the traditional decoration of the building is immensely reflected in the project. The presence of different doors, passages, corridors and garden areas etc shows the depth and architectural expertise used in the original painting. However the painting that is a treasure for the Chinese people contains much more objects and portrayal of activities, for example there are 814 human, 28 boats, 94 animals, and 170 trees present in the original painting (Valerie, p183, 1996) but in the project only the trees are used to decorate the scene but the humans, shops, hotels, cattle and boats are not included because the project is not focused on those particular objects and activities.
There are two main reasons for not using all the objects and activities of the painting in the project. At first there is such a wide range of activities and objects portrayed in the painting like the crop fields, hotels, temples, private residences, farmers, goatherds, and pig-herders, cargoes loading on ships, people busy in shopping, monks asking for alms, fortune-tellers and seers, doctors, inn-keepers, teachers, millers, metalworkers, carpenters (Valerie, p. 183, 1996); that it is not possible to digitally represent and execute all these objects and activities because in that case there will not be a single and focused theme of the project. Secondly including all the objects and activities present in the painting will not only increase the size and total time of the project but there might also be lack of interest in watching the project due to deviation from the main theme and objective of the project. However different animations of the project do use different objects of the painting like the animation in the last room “Moon” is created in River flowing between the mountains and in other animation also the mountains, trees and flowers are used and these objects are also present in the painting. In this way different components of the painting are used in the project at different points through which the cultural beauty of the Song Dynasty is well portrayed in the project to give a true representation of traditional Chinese culture.
The beginning movie of the project is a smaller and non interactive movie that is followed by the main scene of the interactive part of the project. Within the main scene there are four animations included in the project. These animations are “Bamboo in the wind”, “Lotus Flower”, “Snow Mountain” and “Moon over the river”. These animations could be seen in the project by entering the rooms. The animations can be played by entering the respective rooms according to the name order presented in the title of the project. This is to hint the organization of different parts of the project in a disciplinary manner. Every room has a title written above its front door and only after watching the animations in the first room the spectator can move on to the next animation. Computer needs the time to load every animation and an instruction window appears before every animation that reminds the spectator to wait for each scene to be loaded. The project could be ended at any point by pressing the “Q” key that allows quitting however ending the project at different stages lead to different ending. It shows that people can stop at any point in the journey of their life due to time shortage, tiredness or any other reasons and people stopping at different points see different endings in their lives. The people who patiently wait and watch different phases of life meet the ultimate and logical ending that’s why only watching the project till the end will lead the spectator to the final ending of the project that shows that one can not skip the stages of life to reach the final end in less time and if a person does not spend time at different stages then he can never see that what will happen at the end time of the life however he will experience the end from the point where he stops the journey but that end is different and might be incomplete and different from the final destination.
The introduction movie starts with five characters appearing on the screen. These characters are ‘Jin, Mu, Shui, Huo, Tu’ that respectively mean gold/metal, wood, water, fire and earth.
These characters are used in the beginning movie because these characters possess great importance in the philosophy of Chinese people and they believe that the world is composed of these five elements. As in Chinese “a character is a character is a character” (Tzeng, 1983) and each of the Chinese character possess and represents a single unit of meaning. According to the Chinese belief the world is composed of these five elements and whenever a person looks around him, he will find himself surrounded by these objects. The life, health, thoughts and philosophies of people are also much affected by these abject. Different popular Chinese religion also hint the importance of five characters with little differences like in Buddhism there is conviction about the existence of five elements and it is believed that the five elements fire, water, earth, air and emptiness donate five important human powers that are faith, effort, memory, concentration, and wisdom. In Confucianism it is believed that the five characters represent duty, wisdom, reliability, ceremony and humanity and there five qualities are the virtue of the five characters.
These objects appear right in the beginning of the project to hint that to study and understand the Chinese philosophy it is important to understand the dynamics of these elements that every factor in our life is the way to find the balance and the way to get better result of self development. The characters appear in the beginning movie in different colors that are associated with these elements like the White color is associated with metal (gold), Green with wood, Blue with water, Red with fire and Yellow with earth (Feng Youlan, p13, n.d). These elements appear on screen in the citation order of the five phrases that is cited in the Bo Hu Tong and other Han dynasty texts – Metal, Wood, Water, Fire, and Earth. The beginning scene presents these characters in such a way that the first character appears on screen and then the animation shows it transforming it into the second characters, the second character appears on screen and then the animation shows it converting in to the third character and so on.
The concept behind showing these characters converting in to one another is to portray the Chinese philosophy that there is relationship between these five characters and one character plays role in the creation of the other character for example fire creates earth in form of ashes, wood feeds the fire, earth absorbs the water, fire melts the metal, metal chops the wood, water nourishes the wood and so on.
In addition to this it is also believed that these five characters also determine the fate of the people and their characteristics and each of these elements generates different personality for example it is believed by the Chinese people that the personality of metal is success driven that reflects confidence and determinations, the personality of wood is marked with high morals and great confidence where there is adequate knowledge of intrinsic value of things, the water personality is thought as having above then the average skills in the interpersonal relations and persuasion and being more flexible intuitive, diplomatic and unimposing, the personality of fire is considered as born leaders that are confident and aggressive but such people are true in nature and usually attract others through their brilliance and warmth, likewise the personality of earth is believed to be more logical and methodical and such people possess foresight and excellent deductive powers.
The relationship and connectivity of these five characters is the natural phenomenon of the Chinese traditional philosophy that is shown in the beginning movie to give a very first impression that the movie is based on Chinese philosophies and thoughts that are closely linked with nature. After showing the five elements one after one the Image “Five Elements” appears on the screen. This image shows the relationship between these five elements that Earth is against water but it supports fire, water against fire but supports gold, fire is against gold but supports wood, gold/metal is against wood but it supports earth and the wood is against the earth but it supports the water. According to the Five Element theory views the Universe and its functioning is done in a cyclical manner and it is also interactive.
This image is used in the beginning movie to give the message that finding the relationship between the different characters in our life will help us to step in to the next stage of out life with less confusion and uncertainties. The presentation of five elements in the figure shows the system of these five elements that describes the interactions and relationship between the phenomena. The relation between these elements shows that these elements are closely linked with each other and along with that these five elements are also employed in many fields of the traditional Chinese through like music, astrology, medicine etc.
The Chinese philosophies also talk about different characteristics of each of these materials. Chinese people believe that among the five elements, Wood is the most human element. Wood is also considered as the element of spring. It is also thought as the creative urge to achieve – which can turn to anger when frustrated. Chinese people also associate wood with the capacity to look forward, plan and make decisions. Wood energy is rising, expanding, and is the force of growth and flexibility. These qualities are possessed by wood where as according to the Chinese thought another element Fire possesses different characteristic. Fire is the element of heat, summer and enthusiasm; nature at its peak of growth, and warmth in human relationships. Its motion is upward. “Fire is the symbolic of combustion and this represents the functions of the body that have reached that fleeting moment of maximum activity; indicating that decline is then inevitable. The element is associated with the heart and related to the tongue. In the same way the qualities of earth are also set on in Chinese thought and it is believed that Earth is the element of harvest time, abundance, nourishment, fertility, and the mother to child relationship. This element is also regarded as the centre that balances every thing and it is the place where energy becomes downward in movement. It is the symbol of stability and being properly anchored. Earth is associated to the spleen and related to the sense of taste. The fourth element among the five basic characters is the metal and the Chinese people have firm believe that metal is the force of gravity, the minerals within the earth, the patterns of the heavenly bodies and the powers of electrical conductivity and magnetism. Metal has structure, but it can also accept a new form when molten. About water also there are some general conceptions in Chinese philosophies and it is believed that the water is the source of life on this planet. Likewise it is the fluids (the main component of the body) so the water nourishes and maintains the health of every cell of the human and plant body. Water corresponds to the vital fluids, i.e. blood, lymph, mucus, semen and fat. Water has the capacity to flow, infinitely yielding yet infinitely powerful, ever changing and often dangerous with the capacity also to nourish and cleanse” (Joseph, p.262, 1991).
The five elements relation is explained in the Chinese philosophy through the two cycles of balance. According to the Chinese thought these elements play role in the generation and creation of another and along with that these elements also play role in the destruction of another element. For example wood plays role in creating fire but it also melts the metal and in this way it plays role in creation of fire and overcoming of metal. In the same way water nourishes the wood but it quenched the fire and thus it plays creative role for wood and overcoming role for fire and so on. There is also belief about the relationship of nature’s five elements (water, wood, fire, metal, and earth) to various natural cycles and phenomena according to the Chinese school of thoughts. In Taoism, each of the five elements corresponds to a time of day, direction, and season. Movement from one phase to the next occurs in defined sequences. For instance, water (night, north, winter) eventually becomes wood (morning, east, spring). The Five Phase system also includes the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac (for example, the rat and pig are water signs). The movements of the Five Phases are rooted in the cycles of yin and yang.
The concept of five elements is the basic through in Chinese philosophy and the motive behind presenting these five elements and their cycles in the beginning of the movie is to hint that all the work of the project is also based on these five elements because with out these five elements Chinese arts can not be completed.
After the image “five element” the main scene of the project appears on the screen. At first the close view of the painting used in the project is showed on the screen with all the trees, plants and flowers present around the main building. This is the graphical representation of a part of the painting however even in that view the entire painting is not focused but the part of the painting where the building is present is shown and a far view of the building along with the trees and other object are shown. Then the length of the camera is changed and the farer view of the building is shown. The camera then leads to the main path from where the spectator can start the journey. From this point the flowers and trees disappear from the scene so that the file become smaller and could be easily run on the computers. At this point the path is clearly visible whereas there is a blurry image of the building is also visible to the spectator so that he can understand that the journey has to be started towards the destination that is seen at a distance on the other end of the path.
The animation part ends here and then the control of the movie is handover to the spectator. The 3D scene start loading and the performance of the computer determines that how much time will it take the main scene to load. In the mean time a brief instruction window appears on the screen. The following message appears in the instruction window
“Please wait for the computer loading the scene.
When the texts disappear, you can start your tour by using ‘right’, ‘left’, ‘up’ and ‘down’ arrow keys.
The cursor changes shape when it is over some objects. Click on those objects will active certain action or play key animations.
The project can be ended at any point by click on ‘Q’ key. However, ‘Q’ key doesn’t work during the animations playing and ending the project at different point will lead you to the different ending.
Thanks for your patience.”
When the scene is loaded on the computer the instruction window disappears and the spectator gets the control over the movie and a path leading towards the building becomes the starting point of the entire journey. The spectator has to start the journey from this point towards the destination and he has to use the arrow keys to find the way towards the building. The view of the starting point of the journey reminds the spectator of the ancient Chinese proverb that “A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step”
The main scene of the movie starts with the path that leads to the building. The spectator can start the journey by pressing the up, down, left and right keys. In the interactivity part the trees, plants and flowers are removed from the scene to make it smaller and easy loadable. The farer view of the main scene presents the building with the trees, flowers and other objects to hint that actually it is a decorated scene however in the closer look these objects are removed to keep the file size smaller. When the interactivity part starts with the spectator having control on the movie standing at the starting point of the main path, the building and rooms are not clearly visible but only a far and shadowy view of the building could be seen. It hints that when a person start its journey he just have an unclear idea about its destination. Though he has some image in his mind but all the features and details about the turnings in life, his destination point and ending are not clear to him. The far image of the destination is the motivation for the person to carry on his journey. The blurry image of the building seen at the other end of the path is used to generate stimulation and anticipation in the spectator so that he can get exited about exploring the objects looking at a distance from the starting point.
As the journey starts the spectator moves on the path whereas the sand on the ground area is also visible around the path. There are invisible walls also set to stop the spectator to walk outside the main path. The project uses “collision” on all objects to stop the camera from walking through the walls and close doors. This is done to hint the discipline in life that there are some proper ways and process through which a person can get access to anything. The main path seems straight however as the spectator moves on, there is a turning in the path and the spectator has to change the direction according to the path to reach the building through the proper way. It shows that in human life also it is not possible that a straight path leads the person to the actual destination but the person has to face some turning in life as well and he has to change his direction in order to remain on the right path. The project might work slowly according to the performance of the computer and at many places the spectator has to wait for the scene to be loaded and there an ancient Chinese proverb must be remembered by the spectator that “Be not afraid of growing slowly; be afraid only of standing still”
After turning on the right direction the spectator has to move some steps and then again there is a turning on the left side. After taking that turning the side view of the building becomes very clear to the spectator however to reach in front of the main door of the building, the spectator has to further change the directions along with the path. After passing through all the turnings the camera finally takes the spectator near to the front door. As the camera gets closed the name of the project “Wind Flower Snow Moon” is shown in the top of the door.
After reaching in front to the building the front door could be open by right clicking mouse on it. The cursor also changes its shape to a hand to show that the spectator has reached at an object and that object could be explored by clicking on it. The right click on the front door opens the door and the spectator enters inside the door. This is the first opening of the building that allows the spectator to enter in to it. There is some place after the front door and behind that another door is seen that leads to the garden. In between these two doors there is a passage and the spectator might move on both sides of that passage however there are no rooms present on either side and the spectator has to open the garden door to proceed with the project. The passage between the main door and garden door shows the gap between the stages of life and at the same time it also hints that in the journey of life a person reach at a point where there is another place to explore wait for him and at the same point he can also lost his way and might move to any place or direction around him but going at the wrong directions will give nothing to the spectator and then he has to reach towards the right place in order to continue the journey. Thus even if the spectator moves in right or left direction after entering the main door, the will not find any room or object on either side of the passage and ultimately he has to come back towards the garden door to carry on the tour.
After reaching the second door i.e. the garden the cursor again changes its shape to indicate the presence of an object. Right clicking mouse on the second door opens the garden door where there are some stairs leading the spectator to the garden area. There is a wide area present in the garden and another stairs are seen at the center of another corridor present in the middle of the garden area at some distance. The spectator has to move towards those stairs by using the arrow keys. Along with the main corridor there is one corridor present after the opening of the front door and when the spectator enters the garden area, there is another set of stairs that lead the spectator to another corridor but there is no room present at any end of these corridors and the spectator has to come back in search of rooms. Likewise if the spectator leaves the main corridor present in the middle of the garden area and using the stairs he moves towards the last corridor present at the end of the building then he will find that even there no room is present. It shows that in the journey of life there are many passages and phases that a person passes by but sometimes he does not find any thing useful from these passages and then he has to come back from these passages to find the right way towards the real destination.
After climbing the stairs of the middle corridor the spectator finds it in the center of the corridor. There are rooms present on each side of the corridor however the spectator has to move towards the left side first to explore the room Wind first because according to the order of the name of the project the rooms can be explored and the Wind is the first room according to the name of the project and the room Flower present on another side of the corridor could not be opened without visiting the room Wind and playing the animation Bamboo there. The names of the rooms (Wind, Flower, Snow and Moon) are written on the top of each room so that the spectator can know the order of exploring the rooms so the spectator can read the name of the room Wind on the its top to explore it first.
The spectator has to enter and explore the animation of every room according to the order of the room and it can not enter room Snow, Flower or Moon without entering and exploring the room Wind but the spectator has to first enter and explore the animations in the Wind room and then it can move on to the next room. This function is used in the project to show that there are certain necessary steps in the life as well as in study and a person has to follow those steps and rules to successfully reach the ending or to understand a certain thought. This is a type of restriction on the spectator that if he goes to the right side of the corridor towards the room Flower and clicks on it then the door will not be open; it means that in the journey of life if a person want to skip one stage to experience the developments of the other stage then it is not possible for him and he is not allowed to enjoy the experiences of the next stage of life without spending the time in the first stage. This is how the humans spend their life and carry on their journey in the world.
The spectator first enters the first room “Wind”. There are four chairs, one fan and a table present in the room. A pattern is used on the chair back that shows that there is possibility of change in the room. A fan placed on the table is the key object of the room. Fan is used as the key object in this room because it is closely associated with Wind. The green bamboo image is visible on the surface of fan at this point.
When the spectator clicks on the fan, the bamboo animation starts but the animation will start only when the camera reaches at a certain point. This function is used in the project so that if the spectator accidentally clicks on the fan without entering the room, the animation will not begin and the animation could be run after clicking at a certain point of the fan after entering the room only. As the spectator clicks on the fan the scene changes and the animation “Bamboo” begins. When the bamboo animation is done playing, the scene goes back to the room “Wind”. At this point the spectator has to wait again until the scene is loaded. The instruction window appears again on the screen asking the spectator to wait and be patient. When the scene is loaded the spectator finds him again in the same room Wind. Now the image of the bamboo present on the fan changes and instead of the original green bamboo image a black bamboo image is visible on the fan placed on the table.
After watching the animation the spectator has to come out from the room “wind” by using the same arrow keys. Now the next room “Flower” is ready to explore for the spectator. As the spectator came out from the room and reaches the same corridor again, now he has to go in the straight direction to explore the right side of the corridor. The door of another room can be seen from a distance and as the spectator get closer to the room, the name of the room “Flower” written on the top of the room can be seen clearly. When the camera reaches at a certain point, the door opens by right clicking the mouse on it. In the first room “Wind” there was no additional object present that could be played with whereas in the room “Flower” lanterns are present as additional objects that can be switched on by clicking on them. The first time click on the lanterns glow them and the second click put off the lights. Along with the lanterns there is a big painting present in the middle of the room and the spectator has to reach that painting to play the animation of this room.
After getting closer to the painting the cursor changes it shape and the right clicking the mouse on the painting starts the animation “Lotus”. The scene changes and the animation Lotus is played after that the spectator has to wait for the loading of the scene to come back in the room Flower again. In the mean time the instruction window appears again and asks the spectator to wait while the scene loads. In this room a change could be observed in the key object of the room before and after playing the animation. Before playing the animation a lotus pool image is seen on the painting however after the animation ends and the scene returns to the room “Flower” again, then the painting is changed in to the image of a single flower with some leaves. This change indicates that nothing remain stable in the world for a long period of time and during the journey when a person came back to a certain point after exploring any thing , then he can observes that many changes have been occurred at the same place where he visited before. This is also a lesson for the human being that one should not expect that when he will come back to a certain point all the things will be same for him. Not only the things but the attitude of people and their lifestyles can also be changed so while coming back a person has to be mentally prepared to face the possible changes in the environment that he left some time ago.
After the animation of the room Flower ends, the spectator has to again wait for the scene to be loaded. The instruction window appears again asking the spectator to wait. After the scene is loaded the spectator finds himself again in the room Flower and he can now move to the next room i.e. “Snow”. When the spectator enters the room Flower a Pink glass/curtain is visible in the room and after exploring the animation Lotus by clicking on the painting present in the room, the spectator has to go behind that pink glass/curtain to stand on the lift present there. Here the spectator must know that like the room Wind he don’t have to leave the room Flower to find the way to the next room but the lift for entering the next room Snow is present in the same room Flower and the spectator has to look for it. A lift is used to take the spectator towards the next room and when the spectator “stands” on it, the lift start moving. This is to hint that the steps for reaching at the next level are not always same and the person has to search for all the possible ways through which he can get access to the next level. The way to the first room was simple and then the second room was also situated in the straight direction of the first room so the spectator easily came back from the first room and entered the second but for entering the third room there is different process to be followed that refers to the difficulties in the journey of life that sometimes a straight path is available for a person but after some time there is no straight way and the person has to search for another way. In order to reach the destination the person also needs the support and he is sometimes also lifted by a force towards the next destination.
This lift might be a human or physical force or a supernatural power that helps a person in reaching the destination. The lift taking the spectator towards the next room works only when the spectator stands properly on it, it shows that a person is assisted by the human or divine force only when he shows that he is willing and enthusiastic to follow the right path to reach the destination.
After taking its position on the lift the spectator has to click on the pulley of the lift and it will take him towards the upper floor of the building where the third room of the project “Snow” is present. When the lift takes the spectator to the first floor, he has now to leave the life and has to come out from the area inside the pink glass/curtain to enter in the room Snow. As the spectator enters the third room “Snow”, it could be seen that there are different pictures of the Snow Mountains present on the pillars of the room. There is some small size pictures hanged on the pillars of the room and among them a big picture is also present in the middle of the room. When the mouse clicks on the pictures, the snow mountains picture start whirling; some of the pictures whirl clockwise and some anticlockwise after being active.
This movement is used in the project to hint that the human mind also thinks back and forward. There is another distinct feature in this room that the spectator may open the door of this room without watching the animation however it can not reach the next room without playing the animation and the farthest the spectator can reach are the stairs in front of the room. This is another response to the idea of step of life and study. The spectator has to click on the big picture of the mountain to play the animation. The right click on the biggest picture of the mountain present in the room starts the animation “Mountain” and the scene changes from the view of room to the mountain animation view.
When the animation ends the spectator has to wait again for the loading of the scene and the instruction window appears for one more time. When the scene is loaded the spectator finds himself again in the room. In the room Snow, the key object is the paper screen and after playing the animation the pattern of the paper screen is changed to hint the possibility of change in life.
After the room “Snow” the spectator can move towards the fourth room “Moon”. The key object of the room “Moon” is a sparkling ball that is present in the middle of the room. When the spectator reaches the sparkling ball the cursor changes its shape to show the possibility of movement in the object. The right click on the ball starts the fourth animation of the project “Moon over the river”. However this function is active only when the spectator clicks the four balls present around the sparkling ball. A certain order has also to be followed in clicking these balls. In the four small balls present around the sparkling ball, the images are shown that are taken from the four main parts of the project and the spectator has to click on them in the same coming up order of the four main animations. First of all the spectator has to click the bamboo image and the ball will start rotating when the mouse will click on it. After that the spectator has to click the ball with the image of the lotus flower. The ball will start rotating as well and the next two balls having the images of mountain and fish on them respectively will also rotate after the mouse will be clicked on them.
After this function the big sparkling ball will be ready to get active. The sparking ball takes long time and effort to get active. This is done to show that in life there are more difficulties in reaching the upper level. As this animation was the last animation of the project that’s why there were stricter rules applied in to it to give an impression that lot of efforts are needed to reach at the upper level. The project is using this function to repeat the meaning of ‘to get onto the upper level of anything, walking step by step is very important’.
When the animation of the fourth room Moon is finished the scene is again back to the fourth room where the sparkling ball is changes in to the YingYang ball. The spectator can now walk out the room by turning around and opening the door. There are different ends in the projects for each different point where the project is ended by the spectator. The final ending is the seven character “cut shorts” that is completely shown in the final ending. Some part of this poetry can also be seen on the project in the middle of the movie by pressing “Q” according to the point where the key is pressed. For example if the spectator will press the key before entering the first room and without playing any animation then there will be no poetry appear on the screen but if the spectator will press the Q key after playing the animation of first room and before the second animation then the first line of the poetry will be shown in the screen for the ending. The final ending will be shows when the camera will reach the bridge after visiting all the four rooms and after playing all the four animations. The instruction to exit the project will appear on the scene after the final end.
In the first room of the project “Wind”, a fan is placed on the table and a right click on the fan starts playing the animation “Bamboo”. The reason for selecting bamboo for the animation of the room “Wind” is the close relationship between these two objects. There is an important characteristic of bamboo for which it is very much praised in the Chinese philosophy that when strong wind blows the bamboo bents and then it return to its upright position. In this way bamboo proves that it is delicate yet very strong and the wind plays the main role in showing the strength and flexibility of the bamboo. Both of the two objects Wind and Bamboo posses great importance in the Chinese philosophy and considerable portion of Chinese artwork is dedicated to these subjects.
The popular Chinese religions also confirmed the importance of wind for the human life. In Taoism it is taught that a Taoist must learn lessons by observing the wind flow so that his life can be guided by nature. Feng Shui also said that wind flow creates many constant changes in the world and these changes have great impact on the life of humans so one must learn from the way the wind flows and make changes in different things. As the ancient Chinese proverb says that “there is no wave without wind” that means that wind is credited for making many changes in different objects of the world and in the absence of wind there will be no creation of waves and change can not occur.
Moreover in the traditional Chinese stories, “Wind” is important subject that is used to describe the movement of mind that how people see things differently. For instance the following story explains the change occurred due to wind and different perceptions of humans about the change.
“One windy day, two monks were arguing about a flapping banner.
The first said, ‘I say the banner is moving, not the wind.’
The second said, ‘I say the wind is moving, not the banner.’
A third monk passed by and said, ‘The wind is not moving. The banner is not moving. Your minds are moving”
The main object of the animation of the room “Wind” is Bamboo that is the most popular subject of the Chinese arts and the popular Chinese religions also emphasized much on the attributes of bamboo and teach that the humans must learn from the qualities of bamboo. Bamboo is an important element of the Chinese philosophy and even in the ancient Chinese books there is written about bamboo and the Chinese people often associate it with the dragon; they believe that they are offspring of a dragon. The importance of bamboo from the religious point of view could be understood by the fact that many of the ancient legends have also associated the bamboo with dragon. For example “I Ching” explains that a young bamboo is associated with the dragon and many of the ethnic groups of Yunnan and Guizhou provinces believe that along with dragon the bamboo is also their protective and immortal ancestor. Likewise Gen Hong (283-363) a Daoism scholar of the Eastern Jin Dynasty described a story in his book that how bamboo transform in to the dragon. (Xiaimin, n.p, 2003).
The importance of bamboo is proved not only from the religious point of view but in Chinese art also bamboo possesses great importance for centuries. In Chinese painting, poetry, calligraphy and music bamboo stands as a popular subject. Bai Juyi, a poet of the Tang Dynasty told a story about bamboo that the bamboo has such qualities like firmness, straightness, empty inside and divided in to segment; that it could be related to the people’s moral characteristics such as grittiness, uprightness, modesty and openness because they are homophonous in Chinese. Chinese people also compare bamboo to a man of moral integrity. (Xiaimin, n.p, 2003).
In the traditional hermit culture also there is lot of favor given to the bamboos and the Hermits have special fondness to the bamboos. An important reason behind the fondness of bamboo in the Chinese culture is that the bamboo forest creates a peaceful as well as isolated environment for people so they love to live among the bamboo. (Xiaimin, n.p, 2003) The importance of bamboos in the Chinese art could be well understood from the example of the Zhu Lin Qi Xian that means the “seven wise men lived among the bamboos”. It is a saga of the Wei and Jin dynasties, that more then 1600 years ago there were some very famous Chinese artists like Ruan Ji and Ji Kang who lived among the bamboos for most of the time so that they can avoid the chaos of the time. Moreover the famous Buddha poet of the Tang dynasty Wang Wei disclosed that his favorite mode of life is to sit among the bamboo while playing an instrument and singing. Another famous poet and scholar of the Song dynasty Su Dongpo wrote a poem about the bamboos that “I can eat without meat, but I can’t live without bamboo. No meat makes people slim, no bamboo makes people meretricious. Slim people can put on weight again, but meretricious ness cannot be rooted out”. (Xiaimin, n.p, 2003).
These examples prove that bamboo is a symbol of the Chinese culture that could be seen at every occasion of the Chinese people. Many of the Chinese artists have done considerable work focused on bamboo for example an artist of the Ming Dynasty, Song Ming was expert in painting bamboo and his art pieces were called as “the senior official bamboo”. Bamboo is a deep subject for an artist that requires the study of life to understanding it. Many of the Chinese artist planted bamboo near them to understand its nature and many of them also traveled to such places where bamboos are found in vast quantities like Yunnan that is called the Home of Bamboo. An artist sees many variations in the bamboo according to the age, light; wind, rain and sunshine attained by the bamboo. They portray bamboo in different paintings and focus on the firmness, elegance and honesty of the plant like the famous painter of the Yuan Dynasty (1280-1354) painted a hanging scroll ink paper painting under the title of “Bamboo in the Wind”, along with him there are many other Chinese painters that have painted bamboo to portray different characteristics and stages of human life like another Chinese painter Tang San has painted wind and bamboo under the title of “Bamboo in the Spring Wind” (Xiaimin, n.p, 2003).
Along with paintings in many of the Chinese stories also, bamboo is used as a main subject. An example is the story of Lin Daiyu died under 20, was an intelligent and beautiful girl and the leading figure in the dreams of Red Mansions. She loved and feels attached with the bamboo so much that she sobs in the bamboo forest over her lonely life and when she died she was in her house that was surrounded by many thickened bamboos. This story shows the emotional attachment of the Chinese people with the bamboo.
Thus the importance of bamboo and wind is established in the Chinese philosophy from religious as well as artistic point of view and the relationship between these two is also very important due to which many of the Chinese artist have focused their work on bamboo and the wind. Likewise the animation of the room “Wind” is also based on the painting “Bamboo in the Wind”.
The animation starts with the camera flying inside the green bamboo woods. A vast area of land is focused in the movie where there is a field of bamboos grown. These are many bamboos present on the covered land area and all the easily visible in the day time scene. The camera walks around the bamboo many times. The green leafs are visible on the bamboo trees and then these leaves are shed by wind and fall on the ground. The shedding of leaves from the bamboos due to wind is to hint the change occurring as a result of the wind flow. The connectivity of the bamboo and wind could also be seen in this scene that as the wind flew the leaves of the bamboo starts shedding and many of the bamboo also bents due to the pressure of the wind. This is an important and praised quality of bamboo that is portrayed in this scene that it is flexible enough that it bents due to wind and at the same time it is strong enough that it returns to the same position.
Having done watching around the bamboo woods the scene is changed and the surrounding bamboo trees and ground area disappears and only the middle group of the bamboo trees is focused by the camera. It is a set of eight bamboo trees and the camera covers these bamboos by moving around them some times. The color of the bamboos is changes from green to black. The color of the leaves present on the bamboo trees is also black but there are some leaves that are falling around the bamboo trees and the color of these leaves is still green. The camera keeps on flying over the same path while the bamboo trees get closer to the camera. The bamboo trees start disappearing from the screen two by two and eventually there are only two bamboo trees left on the screen. The camera still flies around the two bamboo trees and there are still green leaves that are flying around the bamboo trees. The left over two bamboo trees are then moved to the left side of the screen and the calligraphy of “Bamboo in the Wind” and a name seal appears on the right hand side of the screen.
This animation is an attempt to explain the very beginning of an artist’s development. The starting scene of the animation where there are many bamboos present on the screen and the camera moves around them is the initial phase where an artist is not specifically focusing on a particular object but he is looking at the object around him to find an idea or stimulation. The animation reflects that how an artist transforms the real object in to a painting. The half part of the animation consists of the part where the camera focuses at the bamboo trees from different angels. It shows that how an artist take the time to prepare an artwork that he look at the real object many time from different angels to absorb its image in his mind and to understand each feature and aspect of that object. There were many bamboos shown in the first scene but their number went on decline as the animation passes that shows that along with time the artist eliminate many of the surrounding things from his mind to remain focus on a particular object or objects so that he can concentrate on that object very closely and can learn from that. The eight bamboo trees were left on the screen but even from these eight bamboos six disappeared two by two to show that how an artist gradually focuses on the object from which he is getting inspirations and slowly he removes the other objects from his mind as he don’t consider them useful or inspiring at that moment.
The leaves fall down and every time the screen changes to respond the fall of the leaves that shows the development of the idea and the inspiration coming in to the artist’s head. At the same time it also shows that how wind is changing the shape and position of the bamboos. In the movie the falling leaves change color each time and their color get closer to the final piece of work from time to time that shows that how an artist develop his idea and after going through different stages how he develop an art piece based on his inspirations and observations. The gradual change in the color of the falling leaves show that the ideas are gradually refined in the mind of an artist and maturity comes along with the time in the though and work of the artist that make his work an art piece.
In this animation the bamboo field presented the idea of an open mind where there are many ideas, thoughts and inspirations generating from the surrounding environment. Getting closer with some of the bamboo trees shows that how a specific idea is picked up by an artist from many of the ideas and how the artist work on it to refine. The falling leaves show the refining and gradual maturity of the ideas and it also shows that creating an art piece is not a fast process but it is a gradual process and an artist has to give considerable time to each phase of the idea development. In the initial phase the artist has to spend more time and this is indicated by dedicating more then half of the animation time in flying around many bamboos and then focusing and moving around some of them. The rest of the developments took place in less then half time of the animation. It shows that in the beginning the mind works very slowly and sometimes it took very long for an artist to get inspiration and generate the idea from the surrounding. But once the idea in captured in the mind, the work becomes relatively fast and the final art piece in created by the artist in much lesser time as compared with the time given to the idea generation.
The end of the animation is a bamboo painting in black color. This painting is an expression of the early stage of a person. The bamboo tree in the painting is straight with a hollow trunk that refers to a child with a simple mind. There are black and white colors used in the painting that is other way to enhance the concept.
In this animation the main idea of bamboo tree has came from the Xu Beihong’s painting. This painting was inspired from one of the poem of Du Pu. The poem is not shown in the painting however this painting fully describes the meaning of the poem very well. This painting is considered as one of the excellent examples of “painting in poetry and poetry in painting”.
This is an important attribute of art that the painting must express the external beauty of an object and at the same time it also conveys the meanings and inspirational thoughts that can be generated from that object. This thought was for the first time put forward by GU Kaizhi from Jin dynasty (C. 345-406). He put forward the theory of “making the form shows the spirit”. According to this theory it is explained that the Chinese paintings serve as a means of conveying not only the appearance of an object but also the inspirational thoughts that an artist gets from it. GU Kaizhi explained this thought in the three theories presented by him including making the form shows the spirit”, “likeness in spirit reside in unlikeness” and “a painting should be something between likeness and unlikeness”.
The main scene of the animation is created by step to step modeling. At first the bamboo tress are created with all their leaves and contents and then the entire scene was created in which there are many bamboo trees shown on the stage. The following images show the way through which the animation is created after going through several stages of modeling and creation work using different soft ware.
In the second room of the project “Flower” the animation “Lotus” can be played by clicking on the painting placed in the middle of the room. Flower is the second room of the project according to the order set in the name of the project. Chinese philosophy give considerable importance towards the flower and within the Chinese culture, arts and religions, flowers occupy an eminent position. Chinese people believe that flowers are the presentation of the world’s beauty. Flowers not only purify the human mind but also help the farmers in facing the economic challenges.
Chinese people also believe that each flower has its own individuality and perfection and just like the humans the flowers also live their unrepeatable life. The flowers remind people of the life and death realities because after spending some time each and every flower, no matter how beautiful and elegant it is; has to dry out and fall. In the same way the human beings also have to meet death after a certain period of time, no matter how powerful and strong they are. Thus the life cycle of flowers possess great inspirations for the Chinese people. The popular Chinese religions convey the message to love and follow the flowers because the flowers are not only symbols of beauty but they also symbolize life, happiness and fertility. In Chinese social gatherings, worships and weddings different flowers are used like Peonies, Orchids, Lotus and Daffodils. (Falun Gong, p. 34, 2003).
The flower chosen for the animation of the room “Flower” is “Lotus” that is one of the most admirable, favorite and popular flower in the religion, society and culture of Chinese people. Though the national flower of China is Peonies but Chinese people use to give enormous importance to the Lotus flower. They believe that lotus give them message of purity, fragrance, softness and loveliness. Chinese claim that “once having seen the growing lotus, you never forget it”. The lotus flower is a symbol of purity and divine birth and in Chinese arts as well as in the popular Chinese religions there are beliefs and messages about the purity and importance of lotus.
In Buddhism Lotus is the most popular flower. Buddhists believe that the life cycle of lotus flower has certain lessons for the life of humans that it grows in the mud at the bottom of the pool, rises above the surface and in the same way humans should also rise above every thing and they should also learn from the lotus that despite all its beauty it dies soon that hints that every thing is mortal and nothing stays forever. Buddhists also believe that lotus give the message of complete purification of body, mind and soul and at the same time lotus also stands as a symbol of faithfulness. The Buddhist views about the lotus flower is explained in the following text “The white lotus, born in the water and grown in the water, rises beyond the water and remains unsoiled by the water.
Thus, monks, the [Buddha], born in the world, grown up in the world, after having conquered the world, remains unsoiled by the world” (Mark Healsmith, n.p., 2000) In Taoism also Lotus is an inspirational object that communicates with human to aid them in both the practical as well as spiritual way. The understanding of human life is compared with the way of life of Lotus in Taoism.
The Chinese art work also consider lotus as an important subject. The Chinese artists see such an artistic depth in a lotus flower that they believe that “One lotus flower is like a complete world”. The Chinese poetry contains many poems that are written on Lotus flower. An ancient Chinese poem written in the lotus flower is as follow “The leaves break the bandage of the green stem, stretch themselves and form a green pool with untidy edges. Now the flower comes from out of the vast surface of the water, just like a very beautiful woman coming gracefully from her bath”. The Chinese poets see lotus flower as an inspirational object that teaches people to struggle continuously to overcome the difficulties and it also gives a lesson that even in the worst circumstances, the people should show their best part and internal beauty to the outside world. An old and beautiful poem written on lotus is translated in following words “The leaves break the bandage of the green stem, stretch themselves and form a green pool with untidy edges. Now the flower comes from out of the vast surface of the water like a beautiful woman coming gracefully from her bath.”
The lotus paintings are always the favorite and most loved paintings for the Chinese people. They believe that the lotus flowers are like a gentleperson keeping him clean, alive and healthy even in the dirty environment. Lotus flower has great inspiration for the Chinese artists because the way lotus comes out of the dirty mud and maintains its purity, freshness and beauty; admires the artist’s mind and generates creative power. The lotus opens up the beauty and light to the human and influences them is a way that a lotus painting reminds people about the miracles of beauty, light and life. “The influence of a lotus flower painting is to open us up to beauty and light. A good lotus flower painting can act as a reminder of the miracle of beauty, light and life. This reminder, communicated on an emotional level, is said to aid both spiritual and practical understanding of Tao, the world and our place in it” (Falun Gong, p. 34, 2003).
In the ancient Chinese stories there is description about lotus. For example in the book Jian Nan Shi Gao, it is written that when the Song dynasty poet Lu Yu was 78 years old, he once dreamt that an ancient spoke to him: “I am the lotus scholar and responsible for the mirror lake,” he said. “But now I am leaving, and I was wondering if you could take my place minding the moonlight, wind and dew and protecting the lotuses? Every month you will receive 1000 jugs of wine in payment.” Afterwards Lu couldn’t forget this beautiful dream. A few years later, when he was very ill, he had another dream in which he walked amid 10,000 acres of lotus flowers. Lu’s dreams can be said to combine Buddhist, Confucian and Taoist elements. (Mark Healsmith, n.p., 2000).
Lotus also explains the concept of spontaneous generation and also hints the divine birth. It is said that “the spirit of the best of men is spotless, like the new lotus in the muddy water which does not adhere to it”. In Buddhism it is said that “the heart of the beings is like an unopened lotus: when the virtues of the Buddha develop therein the lotus blossoms. This is why the Buddha sits on a lotus in bloom”. (Falun Gong, p34, 2003).
Thus it is proved that the lotus flower possesses great importance for the Chinese people with respect to their social, regional, cultural and artistic integrations. That’s why the Lotus flower is chosen for the animation of the room flower because it is the most popular, praised, favorite, inspirational and admirable flower for the Chinese people and it can truly represent the artistic thought behind the animation of the room Flower.
The animation starts with the scene of a lotus pool. The camera flies around the lotus pool; there are many lotus flowers of different size present in the pool. The shadow of the mountains present around the lotus pool is also visible in the beginning of the movie. The size of the lotus flowers present in the pool is different however all of the flowers are pink in color that is considered as the most premium color of the lotus flowers. After completing one round of the lotus pool, the camera focuses on one of the lotus flower present in the lotus pool. As the camera focuses on that lotus flower, a dragonfly appears on the screen that flies in to the flower. At this point the scene of the lotus pool is shown in dark colors whereas the dragonfly that came towards the lotus flower is red in color and this color is very much enhanced in the dull colored scene of the lotus pool. The dragonfly comes closer to different petals of the lotus flower one after one and then finally it settles near one petal but soon it is disappeared from the screen. After that the dragonfly flies away from the flower and all the other objects present around the flower disappear from the scene and only the one lotus flower remains on the stage. The camera takes a closer view of the lotus flower and the flower. The lotus flower focused by camera is now changed in to a line drawing in traditional ink and brush style.
The flower then starts turning around 360 degree angle on the stage. The camera focuses on the flower by moving around it closely and shows the petal of the Lotus from different angels. Having done with that the colors are back again in to the flowers and it becomes a pink colored Lotus. Some other objects like the leaves, float grass, flower buds are added in to the scene besides the lotus flower in order to decorate the scene. The camera move away from the flower and take a relatively far view of the lotus flower and the buds and grass present around it. It now presents the view of a Chinese painting and as a part of the painting the calligraphy of lotus flower and the name seal is presented on the screen right before the end of the animation.
The animation Lotus is an attempt to illustrate the story of an artist’s self development path. An artist is different from other students and having certain knowledge in creation, he sees the objects in an artistic way. Though in a learning environment there are same things taught and shown to the student but an artistic mind student always perceives things in different manner as compared with others. The beginning of the animation in a painting style is also done to reflect this thought.
There are many lotus flowers present in the lotus pool that shows a scattered thought of the artist. Though he has the aim to create an art piece in his mind but in the beginning the thoughts are not focused on a single idea or inspiration. The dragonfly flies on the flower and after touching different petals, it settles on one, that shows how an artist’ eye searches around the scene to pick up the right object for the art work. At first the dragonfly sat on one petal but leave it and went to another and leave the other petal as well, after that it settles on one petal. It shows that how an object attracts the attention of the artist’s eye but when he come closer to that object or think more about that idea, it is felt that there is no scope of creativity in that idea so the artist leave that one and searches for another. This search took long time and in this process there are often many ideas come in to the artist mind and then rejected by him. The settlement of the dragonfly on a petal of lotus shows that how an artist finalizes his subject of work after getting satisfied with the idea.
The change in the flower color and shift into the single line painted flower gives the animation a touch of the traditional Chinese painting. At this time the colorless flower also shows the incompleteness of the art piece that the work is in progress and the artist will add certain creative concepts and skills in to it. The turning of the flower around the 360 degree shows the consideration of right angle for the painting that while working on an art piece the artist look around the main object to find out the perfect angle from where he can arrange and complete his work. The 360 degree turning view of the flower also shows many parts of the lotus flower’s petals that were not visible from the front view. It shows that an artist look towards the object from different angels so that it can explore and study different aspects of it and he don’t want that any aspect or feature of the object remains hidden and unexplored by him.
The single line flower is then turned in to color flower to show the process that how a color painting is done after having a line sketch of the image. This image shows the accomplished art work. At first the flower was just an ink painting referring to incomplete art piece and after choosing the right angle for work the artist fill the colors in to it to make it a complete art piece. The addition of grass and leaf around the lotus flower shows that how an artist decorate his work and present it in front of the people after making it as beautiful and attractive as he can and for this he take help of the natural and related objects.
Lotus flower is chosen as the main subject of the second animation for a certain reason. In the first animation of the project the bamboo tree painting was used to imply a person’s childhood and in the second animation of the project, a colorful flower painting is used to symbolize the feeling of someone starting to contact the world and various knowledge of life. Lotus explain people that how they can stand in the worst environment in best possible way and this lesson of the lotus flower is used in this animation to explain that how an artist arise from his environment and strives to study and interact with the world in best possible way.
The basic idea of this animation came from different painting and art works. The image ls1 shows a wood carving that was created by an anonymous Yunnan artist. In this art piece there is three dimensional qualities is presented by using the carving techniques along with the coloration skills. This art work is an important source of inspiration and idea generation for the animation Lotus. The image ls2 is a movie scene that is taken from the film “Green Snake”. This film is full of poetic picture and in this scene of the movie, there are some lotus flowers shown on the screen that are looking unreal however they are made so beautiful that there are presenting a look of a fairyland.
The color combination used in the scene further enhanced the beauty of the lotus flowers and the entire scene. The image ls3 is a painted by “Lotus and rocks” by Chen Hong Yuan (1593-1652). Chen was an outstanding artist who liked to use contrast and exaggerate in his painting in order to present intrinsic vitality of the object. For example in this painting he has painted the lotus flowers in a way that the lotus leaves are seen in a nearly circular form with pertrophy flowers grow thought them. The image ls4 is also an inspirational art piece in which lotus flowers are used from quite different angles and the color combination adds to the beauty and uniqueness of the entire painting.
The following images show that how the lotus flowers and the painting in created on software after going through different stages and modeling techniques.
The third room of the project is Snow according to the name of the project and the spectator can enter and explore this room only after visiting and playing the animations of the first two rooms of the project; wind and flower. In this room, the animation “Snow Mountain” can be played after entering the room Snow and clicking on the big painting placed on the pillar of the room. The Snow Mountains are selected for the animation of this room because the Snow Mountains are very popular and favorite subject for the Chinese artist.
In different Chinese art forms like panting, poetry etc, there is portrayal of beauty of snow and along with that the popular Chinese religions like Buddhism and Taoism also regarded the Snow Mountains are important and scare places. Mountains are also great source of inspiration for the Chinese people. According to the common belief held by the Chinese people, the mountains not only offer a life in seclusion but the mountains are also a symbol of a force that devoid of restraints. “A wealth of stimulating shapes, a multitude of colors and the ever changing moods so typical of mountainous surroundings- impressions of this kind are apt to reveal the all-pervading spirit of the universe to the perceptive mind” (Maciocia, p. 343, 2005).
According to the Taoist believe Mountains are central to the Taoist conception of the world and the man as an inseparable part of the universe. Taoists believe that one can attain harmony if the energy of that individual is attuned to the energy of cosmos at large. In ancient Chinese poem Snow remains an important source of inspiration and the Chinese poets used to write on the beauty of snow like a Chinese poet Bai Yuchan wrote in this poem “Snow of the collection of highest clarity” that “when the green maiden brews snow at the breast, snow is the fermented rice and dew changed into wine”. It is observed that snow is an important source of inspiration for the artists and different people have different image and experiences about snow. In the above mentioned lines of the poem, the poet expressed his thought that snow reminds him of the wine drunk in cold weather. (Xiao-Lun, p. 43, 1990) Another poet regarded Snow Mountains as a portrayal of nature and change in the seasons and said that
“The snow has gone from Zhongnan;
Spring has almost come.
Lovely is the distance its blue color
Against the brown of the street
A thousand coaches, ten thousand horsemen pass down Nine Roads;
Turns his head and looks at the mountain, not one man!”
Another Chinese poet Liu Tsung-yuan (773-819) said a poem on snow and mountains
“Snow on the River
Over thousands of mountains, no bird flies
Over thousands of paths there is no trail of footprints
On a lonely boat sits an old man with bamboo hat and cape,
Fishing silently in the snowy river”
The traditional Chinese paintings contains portrayal of Snow Mountains and in many of the paintings of the Song Dynasty (960-1279) the landscapes are painted by the Chinese artists in which they showed mountains covered with snow and other natural beauty scenes. Most of the Chinese landscape paintings are made up from the water falls and snow mountain peaks. It is an important source of inspiration for Chinese painters to understand the secret of nature’s power. Moreover some of the popular Chinese festivals are also celebrated on the Snow Mountains like the ice lantern show etc. Chinese artist used to paint mountains in their paintings very commonly by showing the mountains as the essential manifestations of Nature they also made many generalized as well as philosophical statements.
The snow mountains have been given due importance in the popular Chinese religions and in Buddhism and Taoism etc the snow capped mountains possess great value. In Buddhism there are some scared mountains where the Buddhists pilgrims come to perform their religious duties. For example there is a mountain located in Tibet called “Kailash” that means “Treasure or Saint of Snow Mountain”. This is a holy place for the Buddhists and as the snow remains on its peak for year around that’s why it is also called as “Mother of Iceberg”. It is also believed that this mountain is a gathering place for different gods and due to this, the people belonging to different religions use to visit this mountain.
The Buddhists gather around this snow mountain and walk around it because they believe that completing one circle around this snow mountain will wash away all of their sins committed during their life time. That’s why despite all the difficulties of this lengthy journey, people often come here and walk around this snow mountain. In Taoism also, Snow Mountains are regarded as important part of nature and the religion teaches that the harmony is nature could be illustrated in the balance between water and mountains. The founder of Taoism wrote in his book “Tao Te Ching (The book of the Way)” that “The snow goose need not bathe to make it white. Neither need you do anything but be yourself”. It shows that the crystal ness and white beauty of snow is regarded as a symbol of purity in Taoism and the humans are also directed to attain same clarity within their selves.
Thus due to this importance of snow mountains from the arts, cultural and religious point of view, it has been decided to select snow mountains for the animation of the room snow because they truly represent the Chinese arts, culture and religion. The animation of the room Snow i.e. the snow mountain is quite different from the last two animations with respect to the idea, techniques uses and message conveyed.
The animation starts with the scene of the mountains and the camera flying around the mountains. The snow fall starts and the mountains start covering with snow. The camera keeps on showing different snow covered mountains and then it focuses on one of the mountain covered with snow and the other mountain disappear from the scene. The camera takes a closer looks of the mountain and shows its different parts. The camera shows the peak on the mountain and then moves towards its bottom where the green grass is shows. The camera moves away by keeping focus on the mountain and the grass at the bottom and shows the complete view of the mountain.
The scene is then changed and another painting of mountain is shown on the screen that looks more finishes form. The color and the image of the painting is blurry in the beginning but gradually it become clearer and in the end the calligraphy of mountain is shown on the screen.
This animation is different from the two previous animations in a sense that in this animation there is no reflection of the process that can show that how an effort, idea and imagination can become an art piece. Instead this animation is more focused on a special period of life or study process that when a person starts studying a new subject and progresses towards the upper level and reached a certain point then it becomes very difficult for that person to reach the next level. In such situation it is always a confusing matter for the person to make the decision about taking the next step and continue his struggle.
Here the learning of the past can guide the person to take the decisions for the future. As it is said that “How do we learn the present, we look thought the past” means that after reaching a high level the struggle for new knowledge is started where the view of the world is also confusing for the person but to overcome this confusing situation the person can take help from his past by continuing the learning process on the basis of the understanding of the part. Thus the present could be understood by reviewing the part and a person can gain new insight through restudying the old materials.
Not only the message and the idea behind the animation are different but the techniques used in this animation are also different due to which the style of this animation is quite different from the other animations of the project. This animation also presents the idea of the “outcome painting” that is meant to reflect the feelings of an artist along the learning path. When an artist of the modern technological world strives to get deep knowledge of the technological advancements and different techniques then lot of his time is spend in acquiring knowledge about different techniques and he is engaged in aligning himself with the technological changes. After some time period it is realized that there is lot more time spent on the idea development and less time is spent working and exploring tools and technology. Here the artist feel that he has missed something and this feeling is reflected in the animation with the help of different methods and techniques for example at one point, the camera focuses on one mountain and then it shows the sky and then again the view of mountain is shown on the screen. The animation also shows the dark snowing sky with blue clear sky and the Snow Mountains with green grass to show the idea of conflict. Moreover the painting at the end of the animation is shown in strong colors so that difference between the end and other parts could be identified.
The main idea for this animation has come from some of the paintings of the Snow Mountains. The second image shows the Yunnan Yulong Mountain that is also called “Yulong Snow Mountain”. The mountain is unique in a sense that the snow remains on the top of this mountain for the entire year however at the bottom of this mountain there is a city situated that is also referred as “spring in four seasons”. There is snow present on the top of the mountain and at the same time there are flowers at the bottom of the mountain. This conflict shows a very strong expression that is conveyed in the animation as well.
The following images shows that how the scenes for this animation were created after going thought different stages, experiments and using several computerized techniques.
The animation “Fish” can be played after entering the fourth and last room of the project “Moon”. This is the last animation of the project and Moon is the fourth and the last room of the project. Moon also possesses an important place in the Chinese philosophy. The Chinese poetry, painting and other art work is done around this topic and the Chinese traditional culture is also inspired from moon. The Chinese people celebrate the moon festival that is full of legendary stories. It is believed that a girl Chang Er flew to the moon and ever since she used to live in moon. According to Chinese believe this girl can be seen dancing on the moon during the time of the moon festival. When the full moon rises the Chinese people get ready to celebrate the moon festival; they come out to watch the full moon, enjoy moon cakes together and sing along different moon poem to enjoy the festival. There is also a great number of Chinese poetry that has been devoted to this romantic and traditional moon festival.
The animation of the room has two main objects, fish and Yin Yang. These are the two important concepts of the Chinese thought and both of these are also related with each other. It is thought that two fishes are changed in to the Yin Yang and the dots seen in both portions are the eyes of the fishes. Thus the animation uses these two objects as the key elements in the animation. The animation starts with the scene of the moon over the river. The mountains are also present in the scene and after showing the Moon the camera moves towards the river that is between the mountains. The camera moves around the scene and then it focuses on a particular part of the river where there are some fishes swimming in the river. The fishes swim by the scene and then they are disappeared. At first the river was shown in the scene but there were no fishes already present there, however the fishes swim in to the scene and then disappears.
As the fishes disappear from the scene, it give the effect that the fishes have swim towards the forward direction in the river and thus the camera is not following them because it is focusing a particular area of the river. After that a float drops on the river and two of the fished return back to chase the float. The fishes start swimming around the float. As they were playing around the float, the Yin Yang Ball symbol appears on the screen and the two fishes also become a part of that Yin Yang Ball while moving in the same position around the float. These two fishes are also visible on the scene after the formation of the Yin Yang and one fish becomes a part of the Yin whereas the other fish becomes the part of the Yang portion.
The size of the Yin Yang Ball is increased over the screen and then it disappears from the scene. After the Yin Yang Ball the two fished also swim away from the scene and the camera starts moving back to the starting scene that shows the moon over the river. Then the colors fade away and a line drawing style painting remains on the scene. The calligraphy of the painting name “Moon over the River” and the name seal become the part of the painting.
In the animation “Fish” an important object is the Yin Yang ball that appears in the middle of the animation when the fishes playing around the float are converted in to the yin yang ball. The Yin Yang is used in this animation because in Chinese philosophy Yin Yang is an important object and in Chinese arts, culture and religions there is very much importance given to the Yin Yang. The yin yang symbol presents an important Chinese theory of forces and especially the followers of Taoism have firm believe on this theory. In the “Book of Change” this theory is explicitly explained by I Ching. Yin symbolizes “shadow, secrecy, darkness, mystery, coldness”, whereas Yang being opposite to it symbolizes “clarity, brightness, the sun and heat” (Bennett, Steven, p. 26, 1978).
According to the fundamental belief of Chinese people the word Yin refers to the hillside that is facing away from the sun due to which it is dark and cold. In Chinese philosophy it has given the meanings of gloomy, passive, female concept. On the other hand Yang refers to the hill side that is facing the sun and hence it is hot and bright. Philosophically it has given the meanings of bright, active and male concept. These are regarded are the basic opposites in Chinese philosophy and a complete system of opposites is elaborated from these. It is believed that Yin represents every dark, hidden, passive and cool thing of the world and Yang represents the active, aggressive, controlling and hot things of the world. According to this belief everything of the world can be put in the category of Yin or Yang. This concept has a major role to play in the popular Chinese religions and it is believed that Confucianism is associated with Yang and Taoism is associated with Yin. (Rubin, Vitaly, p. 131, 1982)
Yin Yang is a very old concept of the Chinese people. It was developed in the ancient period. At that time the concept of the five basic elements was not attracted with the concept of Yin and Yang. The concepts of Yin and Yang were developed during the Han Dynasty. Chang Shu and I Ching are the creators of this concept (Kohn, Livia, p106, 1997). The Yin Yang is also called as the Taoist symbols. Taoists believe that the Yin and Yang are the two opposite poles and these poles set the limits for the cycle of change “The yang having reached its climax retreats in favor of the yin; the yin having reached its climax retreats in favor of the yang” (Bennett, Steven, p. 26, 1978).
All the Taoist manifestations are based on the concept of Yin and Yang. The concept was emerged centuries ago and in Chinese philosophy it is regarded as the fundamental concept of the Chinese thought. In short they called that Yin and Yang means the shady and sunny sides of a mountain (Rubin, Vitaly, p. 131, 1982). This meaning clearly explains the concept of Yin and Yang according to the Chinese philosophy. It is the fundamental believe of the Chinese people since the ancient ages that the entire universe consists of two poles of cosmic energy. Among them one pole is Yang that is positive in nature and the second pole is Yin that is negative in nature. It is believed that both of these poles are opposite to each other but at the same time they are dependent on each other and one has root inside the other. (Kohn, p. 91, 1997).
The Yin Yang symbol that appears in the animation is the presentation of the Yin and Yang that are arranged in a way that both are closely connected but yet opposite with each others. This connectivity and relationship between these two elements is explains as “The yang returns cyclically to its beginning; the yin attains its maximum and gives place to the yang”. In the Yin Yang ball these are two dots also present. In the white color portion there is a black dot where as in the black portion there is a white dot. These dots represent that every time when both of these forces reached to their extreme level, they already contain the seeds of their opposite forces. (Kohn, Livia, p. 106, 1997).
The five basic characters of Chinese thought that are also presented in the beginning movie of the project are also classified in to Yin and Yang object. There are three out of five elements that are Yin object; these are earth, water and wood. These objects are considered as Yin object because they are soft and cool in nature. On the other hand, the rest of the two characters Fire and Metal are the Yang objects because they are hard and hot in nature.
The Chinese culture is also closely linked with the Yin Yang and this concept has played a leading role in determining the features of the traditional Chinese culture. Chinese believe that “Life is the blended harmony of the yin and yang”. In addition to this these Chinese artists also see the Yin Yang as an important source of inspiration and a good portion of Chinese poetry as well as paintings and literature has also done around the topic of Yin Yang. (Rubin, Vitaly, p. 131, 1982).
The animation “Fish” is also meant at reflecting the same idea as reflected in the other animations i.e. an artist’s thinking that how an artist watches the surrounding environment and the objects present in the surroundings and then an idea is developed in his mind. After thinking further, developing and refining the idea, finally the artist came up with a final art piece – a painting. The beginning of the animation portrays the environment where the artist is present. There are mountains, moon and rivers shown in the animation to hint that there are different stable things in the environment. An artist can get inspirations from different objects present around him however he has to choose a certain object that admires him most to develop a certain idea or thought. This thought is explained in the animation when after moving around the scene, the camera stops at a particular space and focuses on a specific part of the river and stop moving around. This shows that the artist mind also focuses an object that inspired him most and then he concentrates towards that particular object to get more inspirations and to generate an idea from it.
The fishes swim though the river that shows that there is great possibility of movement of something within the stable objects. The swimming fishes also show the idea of contrast. This contrast becomes even more obvious when the dark color fishes play with the float in the light color water. The whirlpools made from the float, the color contrast and two fishes playing around the float bring the Yin Yang Ball in the scene that shows that how an idea is generated inside the artist head due to watching different objects and their movements. The fishes were disappeared from the scene but they returned due to the float drop that shows that some thought of ideas may creep out from the mind of an artist but after getting support from other ideas, these are return and become part of the art work.
The animation also shows that sometimes when the thought of the artist reached at a complicated level then it become difficult to explain something and to conclude the thought. Here the explanation of thought in simple way can help in better understanding of the thought because simplicity is the only way to initiate the imaginations and thought of complexity of life. That’s why a simple line drawing in the traditional ink painting and brush style is used to end the animation to show that how the complex thoughts and ideas are translated in to simple and understandable conclusions. The line painting used in the animation is “the more you can see, the less you think”.
The idea for the main scene of this animation came from the painting “River and Mountains on a Clear Autumn Day”. It was painted by Dong Qichang (1555-1636).
At present this painting is placed at the collection of Cleveland museum of Art. The artist uses and liked to copy the old painting and most of the times he specially focuses on the paintings painted during the time period of Song Dynasty. There is some thing important about the painter that while copying the ancient paintings, he used to pay proper attention towards the traditions and at the same time he also used to develop his own style and used his unique skill to paint. He was one of the most famous painters of his age and his painting was very famous at that time. He also became the leader of the Hua-ting school that is one of the painting style/system). The following images show that how the main objects of the animation fishes are created in such a way that they look like changing from color to the black ink painting. This change is made in the animation to hint the idea of “Ying yang fishes” went crossing my mind
After visiting all the four rooms of the project and watching all the animation, according to the order “Wind, Flower, Snow, Moon”, the spectator has to move towards the bridge where the project end. Seven character “cut shorts” poetry is used to end the project. This is written by an outstanding statesman, essayist and poet of the Song Dynasty “Wang Anshi” (1021－1086).
Wang is regarded as a prominent poet of the Snag dynasty. Born in Ling chuan, Jiangxi, he spent early days of his life besides the Fu River. For writing outstanding essays and poetry he was also called as “man of letters”. Following are the lines from his poetry that is regarded as one of the eight best literati of the Song Dynasty (Mote, p.138, 1999).
“Green in the spring winds
The south bank of the Yangtse
When will the bright moon
Light my journey home”
He work as government servant for many years and this experience provided him an opportunity to observe the realities and difficulties of life very closely. His contribution in Chinese arts is regarded valuable because he is among the writers who believe that the writing must serve a purpose. He was of the belief that the poetry and literature must serve the social functions and he used his literary skills to serve his society for example when he observed that the Northern Song Dynasty where he was working as a government servant, is suffering from difficulties, economic disasters and disorders; he wrote a “Ten thousand word Petition” to the emperor in which he requested him for the reforming of laws so that society can overcome the problems.
Wang was also a philosopher. He also believed on the traditional phenomenon of Chinese philosophy about the five elements (metal, wood, water, fire and earth) and he also agreed that the entire universe is made up from these five elements. These five elements are moving and different from each others in nature for example one is hard, another is soft, one is cold, and another is hot and so on. His best known saying is “The will of Heaven need not be feared; ancestors need not be followed; and other people’s words need not be worried about”. He also wrote a short essay. The title of the essay was “The sad story of Zhong Yong”. In this story he described the life of a boy Zhong Yong who was an unusual child because he possessed the ability to read and write without being taught by anyone. His father took him many times to the rich or important people and show the abilities of his son to everyone but he neglects to give his son proper education. As a result when Zhong Yong was grown up he was just like an ordinary man and there was nothing differentiating or outstanding in himself. The story points out clearly that it is very important for everyone to learn and acquire knowledge
The poetry for the ending of the project is selected from the poems of Wang due to certain reasons. At first, Wang Anshi is a prominent and well known period of the Song Dynasty and the art work and literature written during the Song age is regarded as important part of Chinese literature and arts. Secondly he believes and philosophies of Wang are almost of the same thoughts that are presented in the project. For example he has believe about the five elements constituting the universe and he also stressed that one must strive to acquire knowledge and the project is also aimed at describing different stages of an artist’s experience of acquiring knowledge. The third and most important for selecting the poetry is that in the project there are four animation that are aimed at conveying different messages, the poetry also has four lines and in four of these there is a different message conveyed by the poet that explains the situation of passing through different stages. In the same way the project also strives to explain the way of passing through different stages of knowledge and learning. The following poetry is used in the ending of the project
“Over the north of the river, the autumn cloud seems getting cleared
The rain cloud lingers on the evening sky
Mountains are wreathed by mist and cloud. There seems no way through
Faint gleam of sails appear on the river all of a sudden”
All the four lines of the poetry will come in front of the spectator only when he will visit the four rooms and watch the animations there. However the project can be ended at any point and ending the project at different points will give the spectators different endings. If the spectator starts the journey and ends it without watching any animation of any room then pressing Q will end the project and following simple instructions will appear on the screen “Thanks for your time. Click screen to close the project”. At this point there will be no poetry appear on the screen and the image of the painting is also incomplete and unclear. This is to hint that of a person starts his journey but then give up without reaching at any specific destination then he can not get any fruit from his journey because he has not put enough efforts in the journey and neither he reached any destination.
If the spectator ends the project after watching the animation of the first room “Wind”, then pressing Q will show the first line of the poetry on screen. The first line of the poetry (Over the north of the river, the autumn cloud seems getting cleared) conveys are same message as the animation of the first room. At this time the features of the painting are little clearer then the image appears on ending the project before watching any animation. In the first line the poetry describes the beginning of the understanding of life and the first animation “Bamboo in the Wind” also describes the early phase when an artist starts the journey of his learning and study. The first line is shown here to describe the situation portrayed in the animation and also to hint that after some steps if the person wants to end the journey that he must try to reach a specific destination. He will not get the full fruit at that point because it is not the final destination but he will get something according to his efforts. To present this thought the lines of the poetry also matches with the thought behind the animation so that a message can be given that a person gets the result according to the efforts. Thus the poetry and the animations are based on same philosophies and thoughts.
If the spectator ends the project after watching the third animation “Lotus” in the room “Flower” then the first and second line of the poetry will appear on the screen. The second line of the poetry “The rain cloud lingers on the evening sky” is the continuation of the portrayal of situation and the second animation is also based on the thought of describing the continuation of the learning process. The poetry also hints that there is much more to see and learn by the spectator and the artist. These two lines of the poetry also show that as the person moves on in his journey and carry on exploring different objects and destinations then he gets more fruit for his efforts. Thus there is some more part of the poetry appears on screen after the second animation as compared with first.
If the spectator ends the project after watching the third animation “Snow Mountain” in the third room of the project “Snow” then the three lines of the poetry appears on the screen with a clearer picture of the painting. The third line of the poetry “Mountains are wreathed by mist and cloud. There seems no way through”, portrays the situation of conflict and this is the same thought that is presented in the animation Snow Mountain by showing the green grass at the bottom of the Snow Mountains. As the spectator get closer to the final ending the meanings of the poetry also become clearer to hint that in real life also when a person explore different things and reaches near the final point of the journey then the things start becoming clearer for him and he also gets the feeling of gradual completion within himself.
If the spectator ends the project after watching the fourth animation “Fish” in the fourth room of the project “Moon”, then all the four lines of the poetry will appear on the screen. It shows that after reaching the final destination, the person enjoys the full fruit of his efforts. At this point the complete painting appears on the screen with a clear image of the painting that also hints that when every thing is learned and explored then things become clear and getting complete knowledge about a certain study make the lesson clear for the learner.
In this way the project meets a logical ending and shows that people get different results by stopping at different points and the more a person keeps on learning and exploring, the more he will get for his efforts and knowledge obtained.
Analysis and Evaluation
In this part of the research report all the work done in the project is critically analyzed from the perspective of usage of artifacts and utilization of computing techniques. In addition to this, the chapter also strives to evaluate the entire work on the basis of the creativity shown in the project and the level up to which the project succeed to meet its goals and objectives. This is the fourth part of the dissertation however as far as describing the details are concerned, this is the second detailed and explaining part of the project because this chapter explains in detail that how the different parts of the project can be analyzed and evaluated. For the analysis and evaluation different parts, scenes, thoughts and animation are discussed and analyzed separately so that the analysis and evaluation of the entire project can be done in more organized manner.
Critical Analysis of Work Conducted
While analyzing the work conducted in the creation of project, it is observed that there are various objectives that are successfully achieved however due to limitation faced during the creation of the project; there are some objectives that are changed according to the requirement of the situation. The project is created under the title “Relating tradition to innovation within the Chinese arts: the application of digital technique to visual art” and watching this project from the beginning till the end affirms that the project well performs all the work in a manner that justify its title. There is presentation of different Chinese philosophies in a blended form that is a patent characteristic of Chinese arts that there is blend of different philosophies, school of thoughts and ideas in Chinese art and in the project also there are different ideas and thoughts of Chinese philosophies presented in a blended manner. For example poetry is used to further enhance the message conveyed by the painting and background music is added to create an appropriate environment. Different traditional Chinese philosophies like the five elements, Yin Yang and characteristics of Bamboo, Lotus flower, Snow Mountain and moon are portrayed in the project. These are the objects that possess great important in Chinese philosophies and there are different thoughts related with the human life that are explained through these objects. Thus the project includes these important objects of Chinese thoughts and portrays different stages of an artist’s learning process with the help of these objects. Moreover some traditional Chinese art pieces like painting of the sang dynasty, poetry of the sang dynasty and music composed of traditional Chinese musical instrument also reflects that the project is all about Chinese philosophy, arts and culture that are portrayed in the project with the help of the digital technology. Thus it can be said that the project combines the traditional Chinese art theory and digital technique to present an innovation in visual art and the essential requirements of project including the adequate use of digital technology and portrayal of traditional Chinese thought, are met in the project very well. In the creation of the project there are different software used and there are some functions that are performed by the software in similar ways. The soft wares are selected according to the ease and thus the technology is made flexible to use in the project.
The critical analysis of different parts of the project right from the beginning till the end further point our some important attributes of the project. The project starts with the beginning movie where there are five elements of Chinese philosophy presented to give the first impression of the project that is based on typical Chinese thoughts. These five characters ‘Jin, Mu, Shui, Huo, Tu’ that respectively mean gold/metal, wood, water, fire and earth; possess fundamental position in Chinese philosophy so using these characters in the beginning of the project is a suitable decision. The five characters appear on screen one after one in animation form to show the connectivity and relationship between these elements. Here the animation techniques are well used to present the five characters as well as to hint the connectivity of these elements. So it can be said that starting the project with the beginning animation movie of five characters is a right step. In background the music composed from the traditional Chinese musical instrument Guqin. The inclusion of the music composed by this musical instrument is also a suitable decision because it is one of the traditional and ancient Chinese musical instruments and the music composed by this instrument very well supports the thought and philosophy of the beginning movie. The main objects and computer techniques used in the beginning movie are appropriate and suit well with the requirements of the project at this step. Thus it can be analyzed that the beginning of project is very perfect from the point of view of selection of objects and computing techniques because the thought and idea presented in the beginning explains very well that the following project is all about the Chinese philosophy and thoughts.
After the beginning movie, the project moves towards the mains scene of the project. The main scene is created by selecting scene from a traditional Chinese hand scroll masterpiece of architectural painting, Peace Reigns over the River (Qing Ming Shang He Tu), by the famous Northern Song (960-1127) painter, Zhang Zeduan. This painting is considered as a treasure of Chinese arts so creating the objects of this painting in digital form, in the main scene of the project is another right step taken. The painting is not only the true representative of ancient Chinese arts but it also matches with the objectives of the project in a sense that there is wide range of objects used in the project that are required to be portrayed in the project. There is a beautiful building painted in the painting that is used for the creation of the main interactive scene. In this building the four rooms of the project are easily created and at the same time the architectural expertise of ancient Chinese era is well presented by showing different parts of the building. In addition to this the main interactive scene plays the background music composed by the traditional Chinese musical instrument Guqin. This music is also a supportive tool to enhance the concept presented in the main scene. So like the beginning movie, the main interactivity scene is also found quite in accordance with the objectives and main theme of the project because the use of artifacts is done in perfect way and the presentation of art piece in digital form further enhanced the beauty and architectural expertise of traditional Chinese work. The musical instrument selected for the main interactive scene is also a good example of use of traditional Chinese artifacts in the project.
In the main interactivity scene, there is a function of collision used to prevent the spectator to move beyond the unseen walls of the project. Here computer technique is used in a perfect way to hint the discipline in life and study so it is another important feature of the project pointed out here that the computer techniques are used at different places of the project to express certain philosophies and thoughts. The use of computing techniques for the expression of certain thoughts and philosophies is a positive implication of advanced technology in the field of arts.
Within the main interactivity scene, the first destination for the spectator is the first room that is created on the right hand side of the corridor present in the middle of the garden area. There is an important function of the project that within the building of the main scene there are many ways present in front of the spectator and he has to choose the right one to continue his journey. There is a thought well presented in form of different corridors and passages of the building that in real life as well, the human beings have many ways in front of them and they have to choose the right one to continue their tour in right destination. This thought is very well presented in the project with the help of software and digital techniques and the project provides a complete expression of a journey similar to that of real life.
The first room of the project “Wind” has the key object “Fan” that is placed on the table. The analysis of this room shows that there is right key object selected for the room wind because fan is associated with wind. Moreover the animation of the room is “Bamboo in the Wind” also affirms the link between bamboo and the wind. This animation is a fine portrayal of the beginning of an artist’s learning process and in this animation also there is use of digital techniques to present the concept and thought. The camera focusing on the bamboo trees and the color change of the leaves falling over the screen, are some of the excellent digital techniques that are used in this animation to present a certain thought. The animation Wind in the Bamboo shows that there is proficient use of computing capabilities to express a certain thought and hint the learning process of an artist.
The first animation of the project takes the spectator to a different scene and after watching that animation the spectator is taken back to the room where there is a change occur in the image of the fan. This is another philosophy of life that is well presented through technology that one should be mentally prepare to face the changes whenever he came across some place after spending some time out. The background music for this room is composed from the traditional Chinese musical instruments Dizi and Pipa. This music has played an effective role in enhancing the concept of this room. Thus the analysis of the first room Wind and the animation Bamboo shows that there is effective use of technology made in this part of project to present and enhance the thought and philosophy and there is suitable use of objects and artifacts done that very well supports the idea of the project.
The second room of the project is Flower and the main object of this room is Lotus flower. The selection of the lotus flower for the animation of this room is done on the basis of the great importance of this flower in the Chinese philosophies so it could be analyzed that the object selected for the animation of this room is suitable and it present well the thought intended to be reflected in this room. The animation lotus is the portrayal of the process when an artist search for a particular source for inspiration and then settle on one to learn more about it. To present this thought the digital techniques are effectively used and in one scene of the animation the camera moves around 360 degree angles around the lotus flower to show that how an artist look towards different objects and then study it from different angels. This thought is very beautifully presented in the animation with the help of computing techniques and it not only give an attractive edge to the animation but also clearly explains the philosophy that is intended to reflect. The background music of this room is composed from Guzheng and Dizi and this music is very supportive in enhancing the theme and making a particular environment in the room. Thus the analysis of this room shows that the use of artifacts as well as computing technology is perfectly integrated in this room and the thoughts and philosophies are explained in this part of the project in very effective manner.
The end of the animation in the second room leads the spectator to proceed towards the third room. The way towards the third room is different from the first and second room and at this point a lift is created in the project to take the spectator towards the upper floor of the building where the third room is present. The function is used in the project to hint that in real life also there are some supports available to the people and they have to use this support or lift to reach heir destination. Here the computing technology is used with complete perfection because the presence and operation of the lift give a new turning to the project and it shows the capabilities of digital technology that how varied concepts and philosophies of life could be explained through the computer based tools and techniques. The third room of the project Snow is decorated with images of different sizes. This function made this room different from the last two rooms and at the same time there is an artistic beauty created in this room by placing different images of the animation on the pillars of the room. This is a very unique concept that is used in this room that the images are taken from the animation Snow Mountain that can be played in this room and these images provide some hints about the animation.
The animation of the third room Snow Mountain is also created by using different digital techniques and software and the snow effects are very well added in the animation. More over the showing the grass at the bottom of the snow mountain has created an interesting effect of conflict. So this animation also possesses a high creative point and the digital techniques have also play significant role in the creation of this animation. The changes in the color effects of the mountain, snow falling on the mountain and exposure of different parts of the mountain in details are some philosophies that are portrayed in the animation with the help of software. So it can be analyzed that the animation is a god combination of artistic thoughts and computing techniques. The music of this room is composed from the Pipa and Guzheng. This music has also contributed in the creation of a creative environment in a room and the entire thoughts and ideas reflected in this part of the project are well supported by the music composition. Thus the analysis of the third room and animation shows that the artifacts and computing techniques are very well used in the room and animation and the philosophies and ideas are very well presented with the help pf art pieces and digital techniques.
After watching the animation in the first room the spectator has to move towards the fourth room “Moon” to play the fourth animation. Like all other rooms this room is also created in beautiful manner and the walls of the room are traditionally decorated. The procedure for playing the animation of this room is strict as compared with the previous rooms to show the rise in difficulties as the person move towards higher points. This is a good and appropriate thought that is presented here and the computing techniques are very well used to execute this thought. The animation is played after clicking on the four images on the order of their exploring. The presence of the four images around one sparkling ball in the center of the room gives this room a beautiful and unique look and at a single sight this scene shows the main subjects of all the four animation of the projects. In this way a good idea is executed at this point by showing four balls around the big sparkling ball that the philosophy of life difficulties is also portrayed and the summary of the project animations is also presented in this scene.
The animation Fish is the last animation of the project and as the project moves on the reflection of maturity in the idea and thoughts is increasing. In this animation it is very well shown that how the ideas are converted in to final art pieces and this thought is very well explained with the help of digital techniques. The objects selected in this animation include the Yin Yang ball, moon, river and the fishes. The portrayal of all these objects within the animation created a beautiful natural environment. Moreover the blurry images of the mountain visible around the river further added to the beauty of the scene. So it can be said that the last animation of the project is the most mature and highly creative animation of the project and as it is the last animation of the project so it represents the idea of a creating a complete and finishes art piece. Thus the most refined stages of an artist’s learning and creation process are shown in this animation by using the computing techniques. The analysis of this animation shows that the objects used in this animation are selected very well and these objects have played good role in creating a perfect environment of the animation. Moreover the philosophies are proficiently expressed with the help of software and digital techniques. The music of the last room is composed from the traditional Chinese musical instruments Erhu and Pipa. This music has further added to the creativity and beauty of the room and there is a perfect artistic environment created in the room with the help of music, artifacts and computing technology. Thus this room can be regarded as the most refined work of the project with respect to the usage of art pieces, creation of environment, presentation of philosophies and usage of computing techniques. In this room and animation there are highly mature thoughts expressed by expert use of computer software and techniques.
After watching the fourth and the last animation in the room Moon, the spectator has to move towards the bridge where the project comes to the final ending. To end the project at a specific point is another thought presented in the project that the person has to reach a specific point or destination to accomplish the entire journey of his life and this final destination brings him the final result of all of the efforts he made through out the journey. At this point the complete four line ending poetry appears on the screen as the full reward to the spectator and the association of each of the four lines with the four animations shows the connectivity between different efforts made in life and their outcomes. Here the selection of the ending poetry is made very perfectly because it suits the entire project very much. There are four lines selected to end the project; each of these four lines are linked with the four animations of the project and the poetry of these lines shows the same philosophies as presented in the respective animations. This is a beautiful and well organized ending of the project. The composition of the ending music from the traditional Chinese musical instrument Guqin added more beauty to the entire concept and it is analyzed from the ending that just like all the other part of the project, the artifacts are perfectly selected to be shown in the ending as well and the combination of different art form with computing techniques gives a perfect ending to the project.
In this way the project is critically analyzed according to its different parts and the analysis of each part and animation separately shows that there are different artifacts and computing techniques used in the creation of different parts of the project and the selection and use of these artifact and computing techniques is done in a perfect manner through out the project because there are different philosophies and thoughts that are well explained at different places of the project and the art pieces as well as digital techniques play the vital role in explaining all these thoughts and philosophies.
The project contains the portrayal of the objects and thoughts that are prominent part of the Chinese philosophies so it can be said that the title of the study is very well explained in the project. Moreover the ideas of Chinese thoughts are also explained in the project at different stages that shown that the project is created right in accordance with its context and concept. Thus it can be evaluated that the project is a positive attempt to relate the technology and visual arts.
The ideas presented in the project are mainly inspired from the traditional Chinese philosophies and at the same time there are the inspirations of an artist that he hey from his surroundings. The project very well refers to the human life because all the human beings are also mixture of different thoughts, experiences and ideas, in the same way the project is also combination of different philosophies, ideas and thoughts. Just like the human life, there are certain directions in the project and the spectator has to choose from these directions to carry on his tour. All these things explain that how human life can be described in form of visual arts and technology. All the art work presented in the project is the individual creation of an artist that is bring all together in form of a project to convey specific thoughts and ideas, with a hope to pave new ways for an artist. All the art work done for the project is produced at high level and it is in the best possible and most refined form from the artist’s point of view. Thus it can be evaluated that the project is an important attempt to present a relatively new concept of relating innovations with technology and this concept is well presented and well executed through advanced software and computing techniques while remaining within the boundaries of traditional Chinese arts.
This work can be evaluated from different perspectives, in other words there are some criterion that must be meet by the project to stand as a successful attempt of relating traditions with innovation. According to the title of the project there are two basic requirements that must be met by the project. First is the true representation of Chinese visual arts and the second is adequate and effective use of technology. The analysis of the project in the above section already pointed out that in different parts of the project there are suitable artifacts used and there is effective use of computing technology made at different points of the project. Thus it can be evaluated that the basic requirements are met in the project because there is use of different traditional art forms in the project in a blended manner and to present these art forms there is use of digital techniques made the project in effective ways. In addition to this there are different thoughts and philosophies explained in the project that are inspired from the Buddhism, Taoism and Confucius school of thoughts. This is also a necessary thing that has to be covered in the project because the Chinese visual art is greatly inspired from these schools of thoughts so to present the Chinese visual arts the philosophies preached by these philosophic schools must be studies. The project shows that there is deep understanding of different traditional Chinese school of thoughts in the project because in different parts and animations, there is Buddhist, Taoist and Confucian thought expressed. It shows that the project contains relevant portrayal of thoughts and ideas that are necessary for the presentation of Chinese visual arts. Thus from the point of view of usage of right artifacts and expression of relevant thoughts and philosophies, the project justifies its title and main objective. The main artifacts for the project are mainly selected from the Song dynasty. The Song Dynasty (960–1279 AD) was a culturally-rich and sophisticated age for China. There was blossoming of and advancements in the visual arts, music, literature, and philosophy. Officials of the ruling bureaucracy, who underwent a strict and extensive examination process, reached new heights of education in Chinese society, while general Chinese culture was enhanced by widespread printing, growing literacy, and appreciation for the various arts.
In the project there is also use of variety of software and digital techniques that makes the project an innovative piece of work of its kind. There are many advanced techniques used in the creation of the project to express certain thoughts as well as to cover up different limitations of the project creation. For example there is use of such digital techniques in the rooms of the project that their size looks bigger then the actual size. It is done because creating big rooms was causing increase in the file size of the project so there is such techniques use with the angles of the camera that the rooms look bigger. Thus from the point of view of technology usage also, the project stands at a justifying position because there is proficient usage of digital techniques that has taken the project to a high level of computer based project. So the project very well meet the criterions that are necessary to be present in a project claiming to related innovation and tradition and in the light of the critical analysis and evaluation of the project from different point of views it can be concluded that the project is a good attempt of relating traditions with innovation because there is effective presentation of different traditional art forms in the project using computing capabilities. The project can be viewed as a good example of Chinese art expression thought digital technology because the Chinese visual art is expressed in the project in details and the digital techniques are also used in the project in effective and proficient manner. There is a saying that “the aim of every artist is to arrest motion, which is life, by artificial means and hold it fixed so that a hundred years later, when a stranger looks at it, it moves again since it is life”. Thus the project also attempt to add new life in the art work conducted centuries ago.
The project could also be evaluated in comparison with the works done so far with the same objective i.e. to relate the traditional art with advanced technology. While taking first the example of Tomb of the Middle Kingdom by Time Warner Electronic (1995) it can be observed clearly that in the project there is digital presentation of the imaginary image of the tomb of the first emperor of China “Qin Shi Huang” however there is no other Chinese art form like music or calligraphy presented in the project along with the painting. Thus this work lags behind the project Wind Flower Snow Moon in a sense that different art forms are presented in the project that are absent in the work of Time Warner Electronic. Another word done in the same context is the “Recreate the Former Imperial Palace” created by “The Watcher Multimedia” in 1998. In this project also an attempt is made to digitally show the Chinese arts but there is little presentation of different Chinese art forms so this work also fails to stand as an example of Chinese arts representative. Another work Where is Mamma? (1960) is also a good attempt to relate the traditional thoughts with innovation but this work also missed the most important character of Chinese arts that there must be portrayal of different art forms in blended manner. Also the artifacts used in the project do not go through a recreational or innovative process but these objects are simply presenting by simulating them. So from this perspective also, the project Wind Flower Snow Moon can be evaluated that there are artifacts used with an innovative thoughts and there are different computing techniques used for the digital creation of the project. Another important work in this field is The Cowboy’s Flute (1963) in which there is different Chinese thoughts presented in different animations. This project is important example of Chinese arts presented digitally because Taoist thoughts are specially portrayed in the project however there is no presentation of Chinese poetry and traditional music so there is also a missing point found in the creation of this project and it can be said again that the project Wind Flower Snow Moon is more complete as compared with these works from the point of view that different Chinese art forms are presented in the project supporting each other and enhancing the concepts and thoughts. One more work Feelings of Mountains and Waters was done in 1988. In this project there is no presentation o any traditional thought but the creator presented his own inspiration and ideas however it was necessary that the project must convey the traditional thoughts. So the project Wind Flower Snow Moon can be said more refined and complete then this work also because different traditional Chinese school of thoughts like Confucius, Taoist and Buddhist are included in the project at several places and there is adequate representation of the teachings of all these school of thoughts and philosophic groups in the project. In short the comparison of the project Wind Flower Snow Moon with the works done so far in the same direction shows that this project is more refined, complete and representative of Chinese traditional arts and philosophies as compare with any other work mentioned above.
This part of the research report not only summarized the entire project smoothly but also discloses the limitations that are faced during the creation of the project. Moreover there are some suggestions put forward for the artists willing to create project in this field. All the work done in the creation of the project and the thoughts behind each and every work is explained in this part and the summary provides an opportunity to take a quick look at the entire project. In addition to this there were many limitation of the computing capabilities faced in the creation of the project due to which there are also some changes made in the project as compared with the original idea, these limitations and changes made due to these limitations are also explained in this part to show that the creation of the project is not a simple process but it required re emphasizing and reorganization of work at every stage. In the end the dissertation put some recommendations for the artists and researchers that are willing to create some work in the same context. These recommendations are made so that the problems and limitations faced in the making of this project can bee overcome in the other project and the future works done by any of the artist or animator could become better and perfect then this work.
The project “Wind Flower Snow Moon” is created in the context of Chinese philosophies and various Chinese thoughts and ideas are presented in the project in collaboration with digital technology. The Chinese philosophy is composed of different school of thoughts and different Chinese popular religions, scholars and teachers have influences the Chinese philosophy and art up to a greater extent. The project strives to related tradition with innovation by applying the digital techniques to Chinese visual arts; thus different philosophies and idea of Chinese culture are portrayed in the project. The project starts with the beginning movie in which the calligraphy of “five elements” appear one after one to show the fundamental importance of these five characters according to the Chinese thoughts. The project is created as a journey where the spectator can use the arrow keys to proceed in different directions and can carry on his journey to explore different rooms and the animations in those rooms. The spectator gets the control of the tour after the end of beginning movie, when the main scene starts. The project moves on towards the main scene that is created with the objects of a traditional masterpiece of architectural painting, Peace Reigns over the River (Qing Ming Shang He Tu), by the famous Northern Song (960-1127) painter, Zhang Zeduan. There are four rooms in the projects and these rooms can be explored in the order of the name of the project. There are four different animations in the project that can be played after entering the respective room. The spectator gets the control of the movie and after passing the main path, he reaches the front door of the project. At the top of the main door, the name of the project is written. After clicking on the main door, the spectator can enter in to the building. The garden door can also be open by clicking on it and then the spectator will find himself in a wide garden area where there are some stairs in the centre leading to a corridor. The first room is present on the left side of the corridor and the name “Wind” is written on the top of the room. After entering the first room, the spectator clicks on the fan placed on a table and then the animation “Bamboo” will start. This animation conveys the idea of the beginning of an artist’s journey that how the learning period starts and an artist get inspiration from the surrounding object and work to create an art piece. To reflect this idea there are different bamboos shown on the screen and then eight of these bamboos are focused by the camera. Meanwhile the leaves are falling around the bamboo and then only two of the bamboos are left on the screen and the color of the shading leafs become closer to the color of the bamboo trees. It shows that how an artist focuses on objects to get inspiration and then work to make an art piece.
After watching the animation the second room of the project “Flower” is ready to explore and after entering the room the spectator has to click on a big painting present in the middle of the room. This will start the animation “Lotus”. This animation is based on the idea that how an artist’s eye search for the subject of his art piece and after getting inspired from certain object the artist finally settle down at one place to decide the thought he wants to present in his art work. This idea is shown in such a way that a dragonfly fly to different petals of the lotus one after one and the sit on one of the petal finally.
After watching this animation the spectator has to find the way towards the next room “Snow”. To enter the third room of the project snow, the spectator has to use the lift present on a side of the second room. Standing of that life will take the spectator to the first floor of the buildings where the rest of the two rooms of the project are created. In the room snow there are some images placed on the pillars of the room and the spectator has to click on these images. These images are taken from the animation of the third room Snow Mountain. Right click on the biggest image will start the third animation of the project “Mountain”. The mountain animation conveys the idea of conflict by showing grass at the bottom of the snow mountain and the animation is also the portrayal of the stage of the artist learning process when he concentrate towards the object to get knowledge and learn maximum about it.
The spectator can then move towards the fourth room of the project “Moon”, where a big sparkling ball is present surrounded by four images taken from the animations of the four rooms. After clicking and activating the balls according to their order, the fourth animation of the project “Fish” can be played. The process of playing the fourth animation is kept bit difficult to hint that in real life also there in increase in difficulties as the person move towards the upper levels of his life’s journey.
This animation is mainly based on the idea that how the thoughts in the artist’s mind are converted in to an art piece and after refining and further developing that thought the artist come up with a final art work. After that the spectator has to move towards the bridge and that is the end of the project. The ending poetry and painting appears on the screen at this point to show that this is the end of the journey of the spectator. In the ending of the project seven character “cut shorts” poetry is used that is written by an outstanding statesman, essayist and poet of the Song Dynasty “Wang Anshi” (1021－1086). The final ending is shown only at the end of the project however ending the tour at different points also shows the spectator different endings in form of some lines from the ending poetry and blurry images of the panting shown in the end of the project. This is done to present the thought that the final ending or the final result is seen by those people only who manage to continue their journey despite all the difficulties and toughness of the way and the people who give up their journey after sometime ill get less result as compared with those who went till the end.
Though out the project there are many Chinese thoughts that are explained in different ways and there are different digital techniques used to present the thoughts. For example in the beginning movie the five characters are shown in such a way that one element creates the other element. This is shown by creating the movie on Flash and it presents the philosophy that one element play a part in the creation of the other element. Moreover the function of collision is set in the main scene to prevent the camera going beyond the walls and it shows the importance of discipline in life and study.
The four animations of the project also portray different thoughts and ideas and these thoughts are presented by using different software and techniques. In the first animation the camera moves around many of the bamboo trees and then focuses on a particular set of eight bamboo trees. This is done through the use of computer technology and it conveys the idea that how specific objects are focused by an artist. Likewise in the animation Lotus, there are different angles of the lotus flowers shown from 360 degree and this is also done through a computer technique and it presents the thought that how artist look towards an object from different angels to lean more about it. In this way different thoughts and philosophies are presented in the project with the help of the computer technology. There is use of traditional Chinese art work in the project that very well established the fact that the project is an attempt to combine the traditional Chinese art and advanced digital technology.
Limitations of the Study
The project successfully attained almost all of the objectives that were set for its creation how ever during the creation of there were several limitations were also encountered. It is observed that despite the rapid development of computing technology in the last couple of decades, there are still many limitations in computer’s performance. Due to these limitations of the computer performance there were some major changes made in the project and it is not created exactly according to the original idea. The original idea of the project was much more ambitious then the work performed in the project. According to the original idea, the four animations of the project were not designed to be animations but they were supposed to be actual interactive 3D scenes that allow the spectator to walk through. This idea was dropped and instead four animations are created in place of 3D interactive scenes because the project will get too heavy to run for most of the PCs; thus the idea of those 3D interactive scenes was extracted in to the animations and the main idea of the project “walking through Wind, Flower, Snow and Moon” was then changed in to “watching animation in four different rooms”. Moreover the flowers and trees are also now shown in the main interactive scene due to the same reason that it causes an increase in the size of the movie and it become difficult for the project to run of most of the computers.
These limitations of the computing capability due to increased side of the project has made changes in the idea of the project however the computer capabilities are used to overcome those limitations. For example the size of the rooms is bit smaller then the actual plan of the project however to give an impression of the wide rooms, the length of the camera is changes and as a result the rooms look bigger. Likewise in the main interactive scene the movements of the camera are kept slow so that the spectator can feel that there is enough space present to walk in the room.
Recommendations for the Future Researches
The project is aimed at creating everything from 3D software and according to the original idea completely interactivity scenes are to be made in the project however due to some of the limitation described above, this idea was not completely executed and some major changes were made in the main idea of the project. However it is felt that if the work involves more methods right from the beginning then there will be better outcome of the study in a visual way. Thus it is recommended for the future researches that the computer artist must look for the ways to use the computing capabilities in most enhanced way so that the original idea can be executed by overcoming the limitations of the computer technology. The computer artist should search for the software and techniques that can minimize the size of the 3D interactivity scenes so that they can be run on any computer easily. This will help in creating the project according to the original idea and the decorative items can also be used in the project to make it more attractive and inspiring from an artist’s point of view.
The basic objective of the research is to use the computer techniques to present a Chinese painting that is totally a new thing. This method is chosen to challenge the possibilities of achievements of an artist. Thus it is recommended for the future works that the computer artist must strive to show the greatest possibility of the creativity and innovation that can be achieved by using the computer; while remaining within the boundaries of traditions and arts. The future work should be source of inspiration and motivation of the other artist so that they can learn that how computer technology can present the art work.
There are many lessons learnt in the creation of the project that can be followed by the artist planning to work on same directions. First of all it is learnt that when a work is started with a particular idea in mind, there are certain changes necessary to make in that idea because of limitations encountered during the execution of the ideas. It shows that creating an ambitious idea is one thing and then executing that idea to give it a visual form is another thing. An artist must be flexible in his thoughts and capabilities that he must be ready to made the required changes in his ideas and work. It also shows that an artist is always required to be o[pen towards changes so that any problem in the execution of the project will not ruin the idea but make a different yet acceptable thing for him. If the artist remains stick with the original idea and did not make the changes according to the changing situation then it is not possible to come up with a finished work like this project so knowing the capabilities and the failures, artist must be ready to make changes in the work according to the requirement of the situation. It is recommended to the artists that are planning to create any project by utilizing variety of techniques that they must always mentally prepare to make changes in the design and method of their project as per requirement of the situation. In addition to this an artist also has to keep in mind that the advanced technology has provided many choices of the people and it is the duty of the artist to choose from wide range of the tools and devices for their work that can best assist in the execution of the idea.
The creation of the project also explains that there is considerable time required for the creation of each and every art work either it is small piece of work or big. So there must be enough potential and patience in the artist that he must give enough time in the creation of different parts of the project. Each and every part and work related with the project possesses equal importance and the artist has to give equal concentration and time to that work.
There is a growing trend towards virtual environments all over the world and the CD-ROMs and World Wide Web sites that give people a sense of being there will have the greatest impact on art education in the future. The impact of this new environment is visible on various aspects of life but it is just a beginning and will continue to grow. “As the Web grows and evolves and when the next generation of CD-ROMs, the new Digital Video Disks mentioned earlier, are produced, and new titles become available, they will make being there, wherever there is, more real through the use of digitized images, video and sound. This new virtual environment will enable students and teachers to visit and create places and learn by experience. The virtual environment will become an exciting learning tool that will have a profound impact on art education and education in general” (Harold Olejarz, n.p., 1996) In this emerging situation the project stands as an example that can be followed by the students that being attached with their traditions how they can use computer technology as an advanced means of expression to convey the traditional thoughts and ideas they held.
The project “Wind Flower Snow Moon” is created in the context of traditional Chinese art work and the main idea behind the project is to relate the innovation with traditions by presenting the visual arts through computer software and techniques. The project explains different Chinese philosophies with the help of the digital technology. In the project there are different theories of Chinese philosophy described to explain the context and background of the project. The project is created with the help of different software and different traditional artifacts. There is combination of interactive 3D part and animations in the project. The project consists of different parts including the beginning movie, main interactive scene, animations and the ending. These parts are created in different software using different techniques and there is portrayal of different thoughts in each of these parts. Some of the parts allow the spectator to take control of the journey with the help of the arrow keys however in some parts there is simple animations where the spectator has no role to play. Though according to the original idea of the project, it was decided to make the entire project in interactivity form but due to certain limitation of the computing capabilities, there were several changes made in the original idea of the project. Thus finally there is main part of the project that is interactivity part whereas the beginning movie, four animations in the room and the ending are the non interactive animation parts. though it is done due to the limitations of the computing capabilities however this limitation even give a new feature to the project that there are both interactive and non interactive parts that are very well presented and linked with each other.
There are many traditional Chinese art pieces presented in the project like the traditional Chinese paintings, poetry, calligraphy and music. In this way there is an attempt made to present the traditional Chinese visual arts and the spectator can pass through and learn from different Chinese earpieces and philosophies by taking the journey of the project. There are several messages conveyed in the project but basically the project is the portrayal of the process through which an artist get the inspirations from the surrounding objects, generate an idea in mind, refine it and then finally come up with an art piece. In this process different thoughts creep in the mind of the artist and these thoughts and ideas are then given the final shape to create an art piece. Different philosophies are also explained in the project with the help of art pieces and multimedia technology and in this way there is a blend of Chinese traditional artwork, philosophies, thought and ideas presented in the project through the use of different computer based software, tools ad techniques. The critical analysis and evaluation of different parts of the project shows that the project justifies its title in term of usage of traditional Chinese artifacts, expression of traditional Chinese school of thoughts and usage of advances computing techniques and digital technology. In the light of the above established facts it can be said that the project is a successful attempt to relate the tradition with innovation and it hopes to bring new ways in the felid of arts and technology.
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