DAY 38: INTERESTING THINGS I'VE EXPERIENCED IN GERMANY by Mansuo Zhang

I spent about a year living and working in Germany between 2017 and 2018 and thought it was one of the most interesting experiences I’ve ever had in my life. It was my first time moving out of Canada by myself and my first time in Germany as well as in Europe. The differences between Canada and Germany were really overwhelming at the beginning…everything was so different, which brought up a lot of fun experiences, and in this blog, I’m gonna talk about some funny things (or weird things?) I’ve experienced in Germany. Oh, one thing, I LOVE GERMANY. I always call it my second home! P.S., what I’m saying about Germany might be wrong or inaccurate, but these were really my real impression of Germany!

 

GERMANS ARE REALLY REALLY FAST

I did some research about Germans and Germany before I moved there, and it says Germans are really efficient in dealing things. I was actually curious about that, and when I moved there, I found this kind of efficiency could be seen not only at workplaces, but also in grocery stores, mail offices, restaurants, etc..

For example, in German grocery stores like Kaufland, I always saw cashiers quickly scanning and swinging the items to the other side so fast while Germans packing their things so fast as well. They didn’t seem to have enough time to arrange their stuff in the shopping bag properly. I’ve never seen Germans packing things one by one so slowly at the checkout, instead, all I saw was they quickly threw the items into the bag or the shopping cart, and then arranged the items outside of the line after the checkout. This drag-and-drop style of checking out items was really overwhelming to me at first. In Canada, it is completely the opposite, the line is slow, customers are picky about placing items, some Canadians even pick up a chat with the cashier during middle of the checkout. I think if you really did that in Germany, those Germans at the back would really gonna kick your butt off!

Same thing in mail office and phone carrier shops, people working there all seemed so anxious and gathered all the information so swiftly, which made them look like they were up for something else right after. Sometimes it made me feel anxious too, haha.

 
HAMBURG, GERMANY

HAMBURG, GERMANY

 

GERMANS ARE HUMBLE

Many people think Germans are aggressive, but to me Germans are just fast, which has nothing to do with aggressive. In fact, Germans are one of the most humble type of people I’ve known, sometimes I think Germans are very shy.

When I was doing my insurance at the AOK, a German lady whose English was really limited took care of me while I was waiting for another English-speaking assistant in the office. The reason she took over my case was that English-speaking assistant was busy with other customers on appointments and she didn’t want to keep me waiting for so long. The entire time, she was really apologetic about her bad English, and kept saying “sorry, my English is not really good”, which melted my heart so bad and made me feel so guilty for not speaking German! I kept telling her “Don’t say sorry please, I should be the one who is apologetic for not speaking German in Germany!” But she said she understood people don’t speak German because it is a hard language!

Another example was me looking for the Auslanderbehorde and was lost in the middle of streets, a mail delivering lady saw me and tried to speak to me in English asking what’s up till I told her I was trying to find the Auslanderbehorde, she actually took me there and guided me through to find the office I was looking for, and told that person who worked in the office to take care of me nicely because I don’t speak any German.

 
HAMBURG, GERMANY

HAMBURG, GERMANY

 

GERMANS ARE ACCURATE

I’ve mentioned about this before one of my previous blogs, and this still gets me every time I think of Germans…THEY ARE PUNCTUAL. For example, me dealing with the visa extension, the lady who worked they told me I was gonna receive a notice regarding my visa in mail in a week, I remember clearly it was on Friday when I filed this request, and surprisingly I did received the notice in the mail the following Friday…. EXACTLY A WEEK! I heard many people complaining about Auslanderbehorde in bigger cities in Germany, but I was really lucky to have my visa extended on the exact time they promised! There were many other times I was dealing things at the Rathaus and Auslanderbehorde, which made me feel like if a German tells you gonna hear from them in 7 days, you WILL hear from them in 7 days.

Another thing I like about Germans is they are really specific and accurate. This could be a good thing, but sometimes it could be overwhelming. I always feel like if Germans tell you something, and they normally don’t like telling you a second time, a third time, 4th….because they expect you to remember what they said in the first time. I have a goldfish memory so I always forget things, and every time I ask things my German friends have already told me before, they all say “I’ve told you before!”.

 
HUGO BOSS AG, METZINGEN, GERMANY

HUGO BOSS AG, METZINGEN, GERMANY

 

THE GIRL AT THE TRAIN STATION

I was once on my way back to Germany from Belgium and the train terminated at Frankfurt central station so I had to transfer to another one to get back to Stuttgart. It was my first time travelling by train so I was lost really at 9 at night at the station. I was really panicking till I met this girl on the platform, I went up to told her “I am a Canadian and I’m just lost”, She was really friendly and she tried her best help me find the right train and route back to Stuttgart. We actually took the same train, but different destinations. She was in the first class coach while I was in the second, but surprisingly, she actually came into my coach to find me and make sure I know the route back. She was one of the sweetest girls I’ve ever met.

 


I LOVE GERMANY

It was really my first experience living outside of Canada by myself, and Germany turns out has given me a really positive experience. When my home city Calgary didn’t take me in, I was welcomed graciously by this country that’s thousands of miles away from home. Every time I describe Germany as my second home. I have a lot of German friends and penpals and I sincerely love them all. It is kinda weird, but despite the German language which I don’t speak, Germany is always so familiar like my home, and I forever appreciate my time there. LOVE!

STUTTGART, GERMANY

STUTTGART, GERMANY

DAY 36: RAVEN | THE STORY BEHIND by Mansuo Zhang

 

 

logline.

a doll girl sacrifices herself for saving a shadow boy who has once saved her life from the demons.

core message.

self-destruction is a type of beauty. 

synopsis.

a doll girl who comes alive and falls in love with a shadow boy formed by raven feathers. the dark force attacks and traps the boy in the dark. with the power of raven feathers, the girl starts to fight against the demons to save him. eventually, she burns herself away along with demons, and turns into a raven. the boy awakens and finds the girl has sacrificed her life to save him, he then transforms himself into a raven and flies to that girl (now a raven), and both fly away in the end. 

film format.

2d hand-drawn animation in a musical performative style. no dialogs between the character. standard 25fps, the frame per second might vary accordingly. primary softwares including photoshop, after effect, animate, procreate

style of visuals.

graphic line drawing with an organic style.
coloured visuals.


 

INSPIRATION: MOVIES.

 
 

the danish girl (2015).

a romantic tragic film ends with lili (previously known as einar) died after her final transgender surgery. her spouse gerda went to the cliff they used to visit together, wearing lili’s scarf, and then the scarf was blown away by the wind, instead of seizing it, gerda said “leave it, let it fly.” the flying scarf in the scene represents lili’s soul released from her real life struggles. 

 
 
 

in bruges (2008) .

the film that embraces humour, drama, violence, romance, and tragedy. the ending scene pictures ray, the guy who disliked bruges so much, got shot and he was afraid that he was about to die in bruges, which he didn’t want to. the soundtrack and the visual both express transitions of moods and emotions,
picturing the story from something dreamy and fairy-tale feeling to tragedies.

 
 
 

everest (2015).

created based on the 1996 mount everest disaster. two scenes from the film showing the romantic & tragic moment: 1st, rob had his last call with his wife before he died, and when he said to his wife “goodnight, my love. please don’t worry too much.”. 2nd scene shows rob’s dead body calmly surrounded by a beautiful view of the everest with a calm soundtrack that expresses tragic feelings after the disaster.


 
 
 

the theory of everything (2015).

the ending scene of the film rewinds the time back to the beginning, picturing stephen’s lifelong experience like a fairytale, implying what’s gone wrong with him goes right in the end. 


 
 

PRODUCTION: SOUND.

 
 
RAVEN

brief.

various moods for the sound including tranquil, sad, anger, aggressive. emotions are emphasized in various soundtracks, transitioning according to plots. the style should be classical music, created with classical instruments. create a romantic tragic feel on metaphysical level.

 
 

soundtrack examples: spotify playlist.

 
 
 

inspiration: artists.

alexandre desplat (the danish girl)
carter burwell (in bruges)
jóhann jóhannsson (theory of everything)
mario batkovic (chanel)
max richter (lactose timeless)

 
 

DAY 35: ANIMATION & VR, by JIMMY AND... by Mansuo Zhang

 

ANIMATION & VR


The collaboration project is to explore 2D animations in a 3D environment created using VR technology,
interacting and experiencing animations with visuals, movement, and sound.
The challenge is to create a new animation experience from a non-flat-screen perspective for the audiences.
The purpose of the project is to explore new techniques, technologies, and new programs.

London College of Communication,
University of the Arts London


 

Animators:
Jimmy Mansuo Zhang
Xuan Zhang

 

 
 
 

Style of Animation:

Animations are rendered as a bunch of sketchy and scribbling doodles with spraypaints and graffiti elements, creating a chaotic visual collage with both static and animated artworks.

The black-and-white colour scheme makes it look like line-drawings which are normally found in a sketch book. The main motif of the animations is composed with various skulls, roses, and ghosts, etc., which emotionally intends to create a spooky feeling as well as a comedic sense through both visuals and audio sound for the audiences.

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Environment:

In conformity with the style of the animations, the environment is also rendered in simple black-and-white line-drawing style, featuring random doodles floating around in the 3D space. The audiences can navigate themselves in the environment to explore animations at different location points.

 
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The process of the project starts with creating 2D animations,
building some basic elements on Cinema 4D,
and later bringing everything into the VR environment via Unity.
The user is supposed to navigate inside the environment by tapping on the teleportation point with the VR controller.

 
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All animations are animated as spritesheet which is sliced on Unity,
exported in the way shown above.

 

INSPIRATIONS

 

Alexander McQueen Robot

The animation is inspired by one of the most prestigious Alexander McQueen showcases in Spring 1999 which had two robots spraypainted over the model who was spinning in the middle.

For the theme of the project, the model is replaced with the iconic skull in the animation with a warm background full of skulls.

 
 
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Skull Wallpaper

Repetitive skull pattern with a colour scheme inspired by traditional Japanese graphic print as an individual environment for selected animations at a specific location.

 
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Frank and Jumpman

Inspired by Censored Eleven animated cartoon back in the 1930s. Frank, the coin flipping character is inspired by the old Brooklyn street lifestyle.

 
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ANIMATION & AR
FT.VUFORIA

 

Jumpman & AR

Besides VR technology, AR (Augumented Reality) has also been applied and tested to the Jumpman animation, created using both Unity along with the Vuforia plugin, making the Jumpman be able to jump on a $20 bill, which can be shown through the AR camera.

The final testing is made specifically for iOS platform, which is tested on the iPad Pro via Xcode 10 provided by Apple.

 

THE COLLECTION