iPad stars in 'Blush'-worthy animated music vid

Animator Shawn Harris made an animated music video for pan-Asian girl band Blush's new song, "Undivided (feat. Snoop Dogg)."

The iPad is typically perceived as a device for consuming content--reading status updates on Facebook, listening to Lady Gaga, watching the latest episode of "Glee" or playing Angry Birds. But a new music video created entirely on the Apple tablet helps demonstrate the creative power of the device.

Animator Shawn Harris made an animated music video for pan-Asian girl band Blush using the iPad Brushes app to create colorful moving visuals for the band's debut single, "Undivided (feat. Snoop Dogg)."

In the video, watch two lips turn into the eyes of Snoop Dogg. Later, a strawberry covered in chocolate becomes Snoop Dogg's face. Stars form on the rapper's shades, which then turn into shooting stars in space. The seamless transformation between faces and abstractions makes the animation fun to watch.

The girls in the pop band are represented as shadows of pastel colors--pink, green, red, blue, and purple--but the unidentified bodies soon are filled in with a group portrait. It's not until the end of the video that the identities of the band members are revealed. The music video ends by zooming in on different colored eyes and ends with a big cheek that is, well, blushing.

Video screenshot by Boonsri Dickinson/CNET

The lyrics aren't nearly as poetic as the animation, but the song is quite catchy. Just don't try listening to it 20 times like I did or the song will get stuck in your head: Everybody tells me I should walk away/But nothin' ever felt like this/They say he ain't right for me/He ain't the type for me.

In a making-of video, Harris explains that he began with a blank canvas and filled it with a pink background. He drew a lip and let the cameras capture the stroke-by-stroke process. The app wasn't designed for video, so every time Harris lifted his finger, a new frame was recorded. For each second of video, Harris had to stroke his fingers on the iPad's touch screen 30 times. Seven thousand strokes later, he had enough to fill a music video.

One of the features Harris liked was the playback button. Not only could he look back at each stroke, he could e-mail it to himself and export it as a movie file. "So if you're able to make each brush stroke a presentable frame representing movement and progression, you're not just painting, you're animating," says Harris, who adds that the feel of the iPad music video was inspired by '80s animation seen in "Sesame Street" and influenced by wall graffiti artist Blu.

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"The Brushes application isn't designed specifically for animation, but if you can manage to be deliberate enough to record each brush-stroke as a separate frame, it lends itself to a very organic-feeling style of stop-motion finger-painting," Harris says in a statement. "The video is an exposed process--basically one painting, painted over and over and over itself."

In May, Blush opened for Justin Bieber in Hong Kong. While it's easy for pop stars like Bieber to become sensations in Asia, it hasn't always been so easy for Asian singers to captivate American ears. But this girl band is part of a business plan to do just that: export Asian singers to the Western culture, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Video screenshot by Boonsri Dickinson/CNET

According to the WSJ, the band's producers have tapped the talent of songwriters who have written hits for Lady Gaga and Madonna. With Snoop Dogg's help, Undivided has gotten more than 40,000 hits since its debut earlier this month on YouTube.

Harris, of course, isn't the first person to embrace art produced with an iPad or iPhone. Jorge Colombo drew a New Yorker cover using an iPhone version of Brushes. David Hockney , who was influential in the pop-art movement of the '60s, has developed quite the love affair with Brushes. There are, of course other options besides Brushes. ArtRage, for example, gives artists a canvas to paint on with oil paints and watercolors without the mess of a traditional art studio.

 

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