Bird in flight


I aim to use what I have learnt this year about animation and the different qualities of glass to inform an interactive free-standing glass sculpture depicting a short animation of a bird in flight, activated passively as the viewer passes the sculpture.

My animated design will be either sand blasted or acid etched into two panes of clear glass creating a subtle ghostly appearance of movement.


The vertical gallery is a great opportunity for me to exhibit my innovative 3D animation design on a larger scale allowing the impact to be to be appreciated differently. The high footfall received by the vertical gallery is ideal for this project as my piece relies on audience participation. The suggested placement of the piece is situated along a walkway which directs the flow of people past my piece, this would complement the movement needed for the design to function This placement also allows the viewer to step back from the sculpture and view it face on from across the walkway (where the above image was taken)



Following on from my last unit, I wanted the narrative of the animation to mean something significant to the viewers. I decided that the depiction of a bird in flight would be ideal for this proposal as it is universally recognisable and has rich symbolic meaning as well as a strong association with superstition that could be interpreted differently by everyone.

The bird emblem, used in marketing and logo design is often associated with, peace and purity attributing to it being commonly used with association to religion, on the other hand the ‘bird also symbolises or strength and freedom it is heavily used in connection to sport team logos. The presence of birds hold an even stronger place in the world of superstition, depending on the type of bird, their number, and where they are, birds can mean a range of things from death and sickness to new life and good fortune. I want to Explore the different types of bird/symbology there are in folk text e.g. eagle-strength, dove-peace, owl-death.

Although I have been inspired by the flight and form of a pigeon I have decided to leave the defining features of the bird unspecified to further allow the viewer to make their own perception of the piece.


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Throughout this Unit I have noticed a similarity between mine and Julian Opie’s drawing styles. Because of the nature of my animation technique, I have had to adapt a minimal drawing style, relying on using small details to form a likeness. The frames within my bird animation each consist of one black shape with the details highlighted in white.

Exploring material

While searching through examples of S. Taylor and sons work and reviews on their Facebook page, I found that they also sandblast on mirror. I wanted to Explore how I could use this different material to create a better connection between the people and the animation. I started modelling and exploring how this would work.

I printed my animation design onto Vinyl stickers, sticking the bird element onto a mirror and the line onto the outside of a pane of glass and lined them up carefully. Although it did work I concluded that adding another element to this already visually complicated project was not helpful and confused the animation.


While exploring different usages for this animation technique I have considered the possibility of using these in advertising, informational educational use, and directional signage.

At the beginning of this unit I considered contacting a slate mining museum that I have worked with in the past to design a series of animations to explain and demonstrate the different methods that the miners would have used.

I have mainly focused on using this animation technique for directional usage around my university campus.

Glass Manifestation

While walking around campus, I found similar uniform lines are found throughout the university buildings. I have since researched these and found out that these designs are called manifestation, this technique is applied to glass windows and doors to improve their visibility and provide privacy.

I am considering integrating my design alongside these features, bringing innovative thinking to what is currently a purely functional, practical technique. Developing my project into a manifestation alternative would complement and help give substance and reason to my design.

This is difficult as the current manifestations around campus all have fixed dimensions which interfere with the measurements in my animation, ideally my barrior grid animation would be considered and designed first which would then decide the dimentions of the expanse of the linear design.

The translucency of the glass material is the common factor between manifestations and my animated design, the quality directly constitutes the need for manifestations while also facilitating the conditions needed for my design to function. Both these designs have a function and compliment eachother.

I imagine that there are a lot of considerations to be made when designing a window safety feature, I’ll have to research the regulations and find out more.


I decided to make a relevant animation to use as a glass manifestation. I am proposing to use this vertical gallery brief to suggest an alternative design for the existing glass manifestations around the MMU campus.

This new design presents an opportunity to personalise and curate an animation with more consideration and purpose to its application and surroundings.

Taking the entrance to the Manchester law school photograph as inspiration, I have begun to design some practical animations to aid and direct the students while still adhering to the qualities that are mandatory for the safety regulations regarding the visibility of glass. The first animation design is of an arrow showing the way to the entrance to the building.

Designing the dimensions of the arrow itself was harder than expected, the shape was either too long, too flared or narrow. Once I was happy with the shape, I designed two animation styles, one where the arrow grows and another where the arrow moves forward. I tested these designs with different pixel amounts and tested them between my window pane to test the refraction. In the video you can see that the animation worked, the top right (25 pixels) worked the best, I also found that the animation moves against the direction of the arrow which disrupts the message of the arrow.

This video shows the same animation one going forward, and the other going backwards. I was unsure if  I wanted the direction of the arrow to be going forward as people walk away from or towards the enterance. I felt it would be more benificial and informative if the animation worked as a tool to redirect people going in the wrong direction but I later undestood that the symbol of the arrow itself was enough indecation for the direction.

Following the 'law department' inspiration for the glass manifistation, I decided to make a related animation that reprisented the subject.

I was torn between designing a scale or a gavel hammber but decided on the gavel.

I took inspiration for the shape of the gavel from some clipart images on the internet, a perticular feature that I liked was the shock sparks conveying the fource of the impact of the hammer, I decided to use this in my design.

The base is statick in this animation, I played with the idea of the base design being on the front element of the barrier grid animation, this is shown in the top animation, the lower animation is standord to show the comparison.

I decided that the design worked better the standord way.


Naturalizing Manchesters Urban environment

Separate from the physical Vertical Gallery exhibition, I propose to use the temporary closure of the Manchester bus routes, using the unused shelters as a base to exhibit my animations. The narrative of my animations will be a comment on one of the visibly positive outcomes that has come from the quarantine. My animations will be a comment on how animals are reclaiming towns and cities around the world.

This proposal also helps supports the ongoing movement to ‘naturalize’ the urban environment of Manchester.

After contacting the council with my animation proposal and not recieving anything back, I had to discribe my intention with the project, I attept to show this in the first two videos.

In the first video I have drawn an example of one of Manchester's bus shelters and used this as a base and manually moved the 'line' element of my animation across the bird background. This video shows my intention but doesn't show how the design works with the movement of the people.

The second video is a rendered 3D design and allows me to demonstrate how the animation works with the desired movement.

The last video using the same technique as the the first, shows a rough interpritation of how I invision my design looking in the Verticle gallery, I have extended the glass in the video to help create perspective, showing a front and behind to the sculpture.