Sunday, December 27, 2009

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Ink Inverted

Check this out!

Isn't it amazing? I inverted the colors. The white had been great but the black disappointing. Now it's totally awesome.

Ink and water

I've been doing experiments with ink and water to see if I can use them as the menace.

This is a bunch of small tests. I time remapped them so there are moments that are faster than life because they got boring.

These two I combine colors. I time remapped these too.

Overall I like it, but it's tough to control, very chaotic. I'd like to film it with an hd camera and some proper lighting and see what I can get.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Today is my last day taking classes as an animation major at sva. The me from two years ago would be appalled to find out I switched to fine arts, but the me from two years ago knew a lot less than I do. I look to my right and hear a bunch of pop culture regurgitating kids mimicking dozens of cartoon characters from underground animations and on adult swim and I watch girls testing their punching strength on awkward boys, people dressed like anime characters, and all sorts of socially awkward people thriving on their community. I'm socially awkward too, but in a different way. I'm sad to be leaving, but I know that I'm making the right choice, for my career, for my happiness and for, of all things, community. Maybe I'll have luck there.

Monday, December 14, 2009


Last weekend I filmed constantly. CONSTANTLY. I was DP, and it was fantastic. A giant 60 foot tree fell directly on my purse, which was not so great, and the call times were pre-sunrise, but other than that it was just beautiful.

I've been working on The Dancer, too. Here's a shotlist and some concept art.

*-done in post, in animation
** shot with still camera, stop motion/pixilation


1. XWS-- Track right past a large topiary in the foreground, with the dancer centered and a spotlight shining down on her.
2. MW-- Follow as the dancer painfully stands up and stumbles
3. WS-- Low angle, behind the dancer, she stands before an intimidatingly large cockatiel.
4. XCU-- The dancer's eyes, scared, lost


1. ** WS-- Track around the entrapped, as it struggles to stand.
2. ** CU-- The entrapped's faceless head, bolted to the ground. Tilt up from the bolt as it tries to jerk its head upwards, its hands on the bolt.


1. MS-- Follow the dancers as she dances through the forest, moving from shape to
shape, approaching and backing away.
2. WS-- Stationary as the dancer moves around
3. MWS-- Follow the dancer. Her spotlight cuts out.
4.* MS-- Track back and follow the menace slowly coming around / in front of a topiary.
5. ** WS-- High angle, POV, the dancer backing away, visible only in flashes. She falls to the ground and continues to back away until she runs into the topiary and is cornered.
6.* WS-- Dancer POV, the menace looming overhead.
7. ** WS-- OS at dancer, high angle. The menace moves closer, the dancer curls into the fetal position, then slowly moves away camera right.
8. CU-- The dancer is curled up in a ball. She slowly looks up and her spotlight fades back in.
9. * WS-- Dancer POV. The menace is gone.


1. MW--The dancer starts to stand, and is startled and falls down. Follow shot.
2. * WS-- A wall of foliage hides something making noise. A spotlight shines down into the middle of it.
3. CU-- Dancer's face, the moment of decision to go in.
4. WS-- Tracking to behind the entrapped. The dancer emerges from the wall of foliage in the bg, rack focus to the entrapped.
5. WS-- Two shot of the dancer approaching the entrapped, low angle from the side, spotlights on both. Their actions mirror each other.
6. MWS-- The dancer encircles the entrapped, curiously, cautiously

7. ** WS-- They are in the foreground, their spotlights cut out and the menace looms over them, flashing light, backlighting them in intense flashes. They aren't visible between flashes, only in brief moments.
8. ** CU-- Dancer clutching her head in terror and pain.
9. ** CU-- The Entrapped doing the same.
10. ** XCU-- The Entrapped struggling against its bolts.
11. ** MW-- The dancer approaches and pulls with the entrapped.
12. ** XCU-- The dancer's hands pulling and straining with the entrapped, trying to free its head. It breaks free. Tilt up, follow entrapped's head, extreme low angle.
13. ** XCU-- They break the hand out.
14. ** WS-- Dance break for the dancer. She's freaking out. Follow her  as she moves away from the entrapped then back toward it. The menace moves with her.
15. ** XCU-- They break the other hand out.
16. ** XCU-- They break a foot out.
17. ** WS-- Second dance break for the dancer. Lower angle. The menace is huge when it's visible.
18. ** CU-- They break the foot out and the entrapped collapses. The flashes/photos are getting much more frequent.
19. ** XWS-- Low angle. The sky is blindingly white, backlighting them. The menace is gone. They have no spotlight, the sky is too bright.


1. ** MWS-- Overhead. The entrapped is collapsed on its white pedestal. The bolts are gone. Moss crawls in to fill it from the center out.
2. ** CU-- Moss filling its chest
3. ** CU-- Moss filling a hand
4. ** CU-- Moss filling a leg and foot
5. ** CU-- Moss filling its head.
6. MWS-- Two shot. The dancer approaches the entrapped and lays down with it.
7. WS-- Overhead. The two stare upwards, mirroring each other. The dancer stands up and leaps into a joyous pose.
8. MS-- Low angle, tracking around the dancer in a joyous pose. Tilt up to reveal her full body, toe to head. She's suspended with wires attached to the grid with soft braces to keep her in position. They'll be keyed out in post. Her hands start to unravel into green swirling lines (hand drawn)
9. CU-- Her hands and arms unraveling.
10. CU-- Vines wrapping around the entrapped's feet.
11. CU-- Tilting down, her whole body unravels.
12. CU-- Tilting up, the entrapped becomes completely wrapped up with vines.
13. MS-- The entrapped slowly stands and leaps into her joyous pose.
14. XWS-- The pedestal raises and the light shines down on the dancer, now above the wall of vines that had been surrounding the pedestal.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Creative Growth (close-up)
Originally uploaded by lexyperson

Creative Growth
Originally uploaded by lexyperson

This is a welded steel sculpture I made at UMass Lowell. It's one of the few sculptures I still have images of after the Great Dual Hard-drive Crash of '07. I still have most of the others, but I don't know where.

One of my favorites was called "Duet". My grandfather used to make and play violins, and he and I always planned on playing a duet but he died before we could. So I crafted an absurd machine out of old car parts, something my grandpa would have enjoyed a lot, and I used a car window motor out of a chevy and had it pumping a greased wooden piston back and forth. I fixed up one of my grandpa's unfinished violins and added a bridge and a string, and attached a bow to the piston, and attached the violin to a wooden skeletal figure I meticulously carved and aged with polyurethane and sawdust to look like it had been in the attic for years, like the violin had.

I finally was able to play the duet I had so dearly wanted. It's the most beautiful, meaningful work I have ever done and I love it more than any other.


"Dark" is the product of an adventure through the psychiatric system of NYC. I animated this in four hours and was completely drained when I finished. The music is me on the cello. 

 Hold Me

The entrapment of living in a hospital is palpable through this installation, which captures those feelings with a live projection cast on medical gauze and feeding back into itself to create many images of oneself blending with ones shadows in a disorienting and exposing way.

Experiment in Blue

This was an experiment to find a unique style, and I'm happy with how it came out. I did the music for this one too.


My first and last full 3D animation project. A mother bird has a very disturbing dream and takes matters into her own wings.


This animation imagines a technological apocalypse. The audio was recorded in the sculpture studio at UMass, and includes arc welders, circular saws, slamming metal cages and hammering iron against an anvil.

And, of course, here's my topiary:

I love my darling. I named her Freedom.

Laughing With

I vacillate between atheist and agnostic, but I mostly maintain a sense of spirituality. It's when I'm depressed that I find myself feeling solipsistic, but that passes. There have been a lot of times where I'm in such an awful state that I can't help but laugh at it. I love this song, I haven't listened to it in a while and it brings up so many memories of instances where I'm just overwhelmed by the insanity of my life.

spotlight effect

I've been thinking a lot about that spotlight effect.

I just rendered a test image in maya.

It took a couple hours to get it the way I wanted it, but now that I've relearned how to do this sort of stuff it won't take nearly so long for the actual project.

What I want to do is render a spotlight in maya to follow the dancer, and I'll do a 3d mockup of the topiaries to cast shadows on them. For the dancer's shadow I want to film her with a two camera setup, one to act as the 'spotlight' and one to be the main capture. The spotlight will be stationary way up above her. It doesn't have to be super high resolution since I'm just going to use it to key out the bg and use the dancer for a shadow. I'll put it on a plane in maya and set it to cast shadows but be invisible when it renders.

This is going to be so technically complicated but it's worth the effort.

The Dancer

Here's a script I wrote for the project I've been dreaming up the past couple months.



Lily Gist


A pale indigo moonlight casts shadows amongst a sparse forest of large topiaries, surrounded by a spacious black void. A Chinese dragon in topiary form looms in the distance, with a topiary cockatiel perched nearby. Flower children holding vases and pots are frozen in abstract poses, and various other whimsical shapes quietly preside in the darkness.

A young and lithe human DANCER, 20s, stumbles lost through the vast Topiary Forest. She anxiously braces herself against the still creatures, as though they could come to life at any moment. Lit by a spotlight which follows her every movement, she seems lonely and small. The forest overshadows her with its cold stillness.


An ENTRAPPED figure lays on the ground. It is hollow, only the suggestion of a form, and is bolted to the ground. A spotlight shines over it, its shadow a mesh of lines and shapes permeated by light.

It struggles to stand, pushing itself off the ground, but the bolts limit its movement.


The dancer moves from shape to shape, investigating and dancing fearfully around them, approaching and backing away. She is searching for something without knowing its appearance.

Her spotlight fades and a darkness envelops her. A low, clashing growl is heard in the distance and glowing eyes and teeth appear, scowling cruelly at her. The MENACE approaches, a mess of dark colors and scratched lines.

In abject terror The Dancer frantically tries to escape. A cold blue light flashes from The Menace, showing only glimpses of her in the darkness.

When she is on the brink of madness, huddled fearfully in the fetal position, The Menace moves on.

Slowly she catches her breath and composes herself. Her spotlight fades back in.

She hears something nearby and is startled, falling backwards.

She seems ready to run, but still walks forward. A wall of branches and trees surrounds an obscured figure, illuminated by a spotlight. She makes her way through the trees and comes across The Entrapped.

It is scared by her, and she by it. Their movements mirror each other’s. The Dancer circles The Entrapped, reaching to touch it.

Suddenly their spotlights cut off and The Menace appears. Light strobes over them, their movements visible only in flashes.

They clutch their heads, terrified, trying to hide but the trees grow thick to keep the dancer in. The Entrapped pits all its strength against the bolts, trying desperately to free itself. The Dancer sees this and anxiously tries to help it, falling back and pushing forward. She frees one arm, then the other, then the legs and finally the head.

The flashes of light intensify, strobing more rapidly.

The Entrapped collapses to the ground. The strobes reach a blinding intensity, filling the area with white light. The sounds of the Menace are gone.

A moss starts to grow inside The Entrapped, and vines wrap around its ankles. The trees around it sink into the ground as it fills. The Dancer steps up and merges with The Entrapped, growing into it with green moss and life. She stands up and exuberantly dances, each movement filling the air with color. She jumps to the sky, freezing in a pose of joy and freedom.

It is daytime in the Topiary Forest, and of all the topiaries, The Dancer is the largest and most revered. A light shines over her like no other, and colors fill the sky around her. She is forever joyful, and her only purpose is to grow.