Thursday, January 12, 2006

Nosepilot (Alexandru Sacul)

Nosepilot
Nosepilot is a diversion: a Flash animation in which charmingly simple vector drawings morph and change and blend one into the other in a loose, not-quite-a-story sequence set to music.

I think Nosepilot has been on the web in one form or another for at least 8 or 9 years, and has been immensely popular at times. There’s a whole story that goes with that. Rather than rehash it here, I’l let Scott Thigpen tell you about it on his Artsy Fartsy Weblog (which may or may not be up for much longer, if not go here).

From the scrolling text in the glasses in the Nosepilot opening screen, choose your language (mostly for text and credits, there’s no dialog) and the animation will begin.

After ten or twelve minutes, the animation drops you off at a group of still images. Click around and they switch to different versions and enlargements of themselves. Find the right one and they link to another group of images that respond the same way. You can click through these images into other sets (by finding the right one to click on) for at least 8 or 10 sets. I’ve never taken it farther than that, so I don’t know if it goes to any particular conclusion (I suspect not).

Nosepilot is just a diversion, there’s no “point” to it. If you don’t like it after the first few minutes, you won’t miss anything significant by clicking over to the latest celebrity gossip on Yahoo News.

I admire the simple, effective use of vector illustrations which allowed Sacul to make the piece resolution independent (the movie scales up or down with changes to the size of your browser window).

Here is a link to Sacul’s animated illustration portfolio.

Addendum: I may be wrong in my assessment of the “still images”, having missed an underlying graphic narrative. See this post’s comments for more.

2 thoughts on “Nosepilot (Alexandru Sacul)

  1. alex sacui

    the “group of still images”
    http://story.nosepilot.com/
    is a 117 page graphic novel without words. the story continues the lives of the charaters intorduced in the animation. it’s sad that nobody understands anything and thinks my work is pointless. i started writting some text that explains the storyline…but have not finished. the piece was created to work without an explanation but it seems ive terribly failed.

  2. Charley Parker Post author

    The lack of an easliy identifiable central character makes it difficult so see a continuity of story between the animated sequences, or between the animations and the still panels.

    I should have gotten a clue about the narrative nature of the still images by their arrangement like comic panels, but the “game” of finding the right panel to click through to the next sequence, which can actually be frustrating at times, is very distracting, and makes it more difficult to read the sequence as a story.

    The early still page with the falling fruit, bull and wagon, for example, presents a barrier that many people may not pass. Unless you’re persistent, or know to click in the lower left, it would be easy to assume the piece ends there.

    The instruction to “click on the last image, moons or musical imstruments” to advance does not always hold true.

    Wordless graphic narrative is difficult enough to accomplish effectively. Add in experimental storytelling, the lack of traditional cues used to identify characters and maintain continuity (the color of clothing or hair, for example) and a “keep me guessing” navigation, and you’ve made it too difficult for most people to grasp the sequence as a story.

    I would hardly classify the piece as a failure, though. It’s beautiful to look at and has captured the attention of an enormous number of people. I would call it a grand experiment.

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