December 16, 2008

Marry Christmas from the Muppets

I'm a huge Muppets fan. I enjoyed this one quite a bit:

December 14, 2008

Fed Up

Cool, they guy who's been animating those cool Simon's Cat cartoons has created another one. This one is about a dog. You can see the other two here and here. My favorite one is still the first one, where the cat tries to wake up his owner. But still, this one is a lot of fun:

December 11, 2008

Squirrel's fighting, Awsome Insperation

I found these awesome pictures of squirrel's fighting on the web. I thought I'd share them for inspiration. The photos were taken in Africa by award-winning British photographer David J. Slater.

Check out these great action photos of a couple squirrels fighting. They're really impressive. It's often tough to read a squirrel's face but there's no denying the expression on that first one. I like how the line of action blends in from the one on the bottom to the one on the top. Great composition and silhouette.


You can really feel the impact on that squirrel's face, and it's a great read on the other one bighting it's ass.


Again I love how the line of action flows from one squirrel to the next as this one tries to get away. See how the arms flow though the pose of the squirrel pushing off the ground. The tail up makes it look like he doesn't want to get bitten again, but it still arks back as the force pushes it back. Great stuff.


December 10, 2008

Orgesticulanismus

Check out this animation. It's unbelievably good, very loose and well animated. It was animated by Mathieu Labaye, it's a tribute to his father who suffered from a multiple sclerosis. What a great idea for a film. I can't wait to see it ripped off to make an iPod commercial.

It starts out slow, skip to 3:40 and you'll understand what I'm talking about.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iDHfx9nde14

November 10, 2008

Still alive, still animating

Hi.

I'm still alive, still animating.

I haven't been doing a very good job of keeping this blog up to date. I was extremely busy for a while, focusing all my time on my animation. Then I took five weeks off. For those five weeks I decided not to touch a computer (except for Animation Mentor and a little email). Mostly I felt like I just needed a break from looking at a computer. I did a little drawing, started a new sketchbook and focused on other things for a bit.

But now I'm back, I'm working at Sony, I'm working on Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs. We saw a screening of the film the other week, I can't say anything about it except for the fact that I think it's gong to be a lot of fun to animate on.

That's all for now. I will post more often.

August 15, 2008

Oktapodi

If you haven't seen the new short form the French animation school Gobelins, you really should check it out:




Every bit as good as the short is the making of:
http://www.oktapodi.com/makingof.html

Gobelins, has really turned out some terrific shorts. If you haven't seen Burning Safari you should really check it out. I'd love to talk with someone from this school and find out what it's like to produce these shorts. They're really great stuff.

August 13, 2008

Look test for "Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs"

Thanks Cassidy, yep, it looks like they took it down.

Sony has published a look test for their upcoming feature animated film: Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs. You can find it here:

http://www.imageworks.com/

Click on shows, then click on recent. Then click on the picture on the bottom of the screen. It took a long time for it to load up for me, but it is worth the wait.

August 7, 2008

Ira Glass on Story

This is the a must see clip:



I really this clip. It's true for story, and I feel like it's true with animation (or any creative endeavor.) I can really relate to it. I've worked on shots where I had a really strong idea what I wanted to do with a shot and it just didn't work. For example I've worked on shots where I had a specific pose that I wanted to hit. And for some reason I'll struggle with it for days trying to keep that pose in there . Eventually I'll remove that pose and then the shot will work much better and I'll spend the rest of the day kicking myself for not seeing it in the first place.

It's important to be flexible when working on a shot. You might have good ideas, but they might be wrong for the shot. If you really believe in an idea it's not bad to stick up for it but it is also important to show your shot to other people to help ground yourself.

July 19, 2008

Sorry no updates

I hate to post "sorry no updates" posts but few people have been asking me why there's been no updates.

The truth is I've been working 60-70 hour weeks and I just haven't had the time or the energy.

I'll be back with more soon.

June 27, 2008

Bolt Trailer On Line (if you can find it)

The trailer for Bolt is now on line. Over all I'm pretty happy with the way the trailer turned out. You can find it at the Disney website, but you'll have to look for it. (it's next to the screen in the middle on the lower right) The last 15 frames of one of my shots is in it. It's the shot just before he jumps over something:) Look for those frames here:

http://disney.go.com/index

Added: Here's a better bigger more direct link:
http://link.brightcove.com/services/link/bcpid1631243518/bctid1631227711

June 17, 2008

June 13, 2008

Nice ad from Framestore

I like the animation, really natural looking.

June 5, 2008

The Animation Survival Kit DVD

It looks like the Richard Williams book "The Animation Survival Kit" is being turned into a DVD. A trailer for the DVD just hit the tube:



Here's the website: http://www.theanimatorssurvivalkit.com/ It doesn't say when the DVD will be coming out, I guess we'll have to wait tell next week to find out.

I think the idea of a DVD is promising. The book is excellent, but it's hard to show moving examples in a book. I'm hoping that the DVD will be more interactive and will let you see what he's talking about.

The Animation Survival Kit is one of five books that I always recommend that my students get. It's one of the books that I feel should be on every animators bookshelf:

The Animator's Survival Kit

The Illusion of Life: Disney Animation (It's good to see this one is still in print)

Cartoon Animation (The Collector's Series) (I do prefer the tall paperback editions but this volume has all the books together.

Timing for Animation(This is a must read for any animator.)

Animation: From Script to Screen (I put this one on the list because of Chapter 3 where he talks about getting into the animators state of mind.)

There are many others that are good, but these are the five standard ones. If there's something I missed please feel free to leave me feedback.


They've updated their website, it looks like the set will be sold for just under $1000 USD but only if you buy it before November. No word on what region it is or if it's in PAL.

Thanks to Brew for pointing it out.

May 19, 2008

3D games for the Wii

Attention Wii Game developers, watch this, and make me a cool looking 3D game. This looks awesome!



BTW You can get the source code to do this for free off his website:
http://johnnylee.net

May 17, 2008

Doing Nothing

It's an old acting trick. Tell a student to get on stage, don't give him any direction just have him stand there. If you watch him, he won't know what to do. He'll fidget, and look around at the other students for support. His body will be a quiver because he's trying to figure out what to do. Now give him some direction, any direction. Tell him to look into the distance like he sees a bird. Now watch his whole body transform. All that fidgeting and nervous energy vanishes, now he has something to do.

We've all been assigned the shot where a character does nothing. He stands in the background and watches the main character do something. Even the main character stops and does nothing once in a while. It's one of the toughest assignments to get. But the easiest way to tackle it is to give that character something to do. Preferably something that fits in with the scene or story.

This is a clever video that Pixelsurgeon made, he calls it the day without news. He made it by editing together photage of BBC news anchors waiting for their cue start talking.

It's clever and funny, but that's not what interests me. These news reporters know this acting trick and they're using it. They're trying to give themselves something active to do so that they look good on camera. It's really interesting to watch, there's a lot of life in the way that they wait. It's worth watching a few times to see how good these people are at doing nothing.

Interview I did for Animation Mentor

I'm the featured mentor this week for Animation Mentor. You can check out my interview here:

http://www.animationmentor.com/newsletter/0508/feature_mentor.html

And check out the rest of the newsletter here:

http://www.animationmentor.com/newsletter/0508/

(BTW I'm currently at Disney not Sony Imageworks, that's a typo;)

May 15, 2008

The Fall

WOW, how did I miss this one. I don't usually go for films that are more about the visual eye candy then good story. I think I'll make an exception for: "The Fall." This website has a great collection of clips and pictures:
http://toysrevil.blogspot.com/2008/05/little-blessing-in-disguise-fall-videos.html

And there's the official website:

http://www.thefallthemovie.com/

May 5, 2008

Why I love Spike Jones

This is the into to a film called: Fully Flared directed by Spike Jone. It's a skateboarding fim made for a shoe company named Lakai. I haven't seen the entire film, but I love the intro.



Spike Jones is known for his award winning commercials and music videos, I love the way he uses "in camera" effects in most of his work. He lets things naturally play out instead of trying to control every element. The result is great. Check out the video and see for yourself.

You can see more of his work here:

Ikea video, this lamp has as much personality as Pixar's Luxo, but with no animation, fancy camera work and lighting:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TsQXQGaasUg

Such a simple idea, such a powerful image, a man on fire running down the street:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dPT7q825gwI&NR=1

This one is amazing, he filmed all the actors doing their actions backwards:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rmNIvlVt40M

This is probably his most well known video, he won the MTV Music awards for it (that year he beat Madana's video, she spent millions on hers and reportedly was very pissed off when she didn't win):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zqrDWKq9gGU

May 1, 2008

Mr Lux

This is great, love the style, love the animation.



Found via Cartoon Brew.

April 30, 2008

Twittering




Don't laugh at me, I've created a twitter account. I did it so I can see what all the fuss was about. You can see my updates on the left of this page (all you rss readers might not see it), or if you have twitter you can add me to your list.

Comic is from Penny Arcade.

April 29, 2008

Aardman's Animal Planet Shots

Aardman has done a bunch of great bumpers for Animal Planet. I really like the deigns and the animation on these shorts. I assume that they are animated on glass, anyone know?

http://animalssavetheplanet.com/?page=home

April 14, 2008

Ollie Johnston

The last of the nine old men Ollie Johnston passed away today. All my best to his friends and family.

The more I read about Ollie Johnston the more I realize how little I know. A lot of blogs have been writing great things about him. One of my favorite is Brad Birds:
http://www.cartoonbrew.com/disney/brad-bird-on-ollie-johnston

I like how he keeps everything in perspective.

April 11, 2008

Wii Remote Hacks

I already use a Wii remote to help me with my Animation Mentor critiques, photoshop, and TVPaint, but I essentially just use it as a wireless keyboard replacement. I had no idea it could be used for so much more. Johnny Lee has turned the Wii remote into an interactive white board and a 3D Game display. If your interested in this kid of stuff, check out his talk on TED:




TED has turned into a kick ass place for people to present ideas. I really like the videos they publish.

Lego 3D Zoetrope


You know that 3D Zoetrope that Pixar made for MoMa? I talk about it here.

Well someone decided to make one out of Lego. Check it out:
http://www.v27.org/files/LegoZoetrope.htm

Little Nemo Polot 1984

A pilot for the much anticipated but never made movie Little Nemo has surfaced on the web. It was directed by Yoshifumi Kondô and it was done at Studio Ghibli. If you've been to Cartoon Brew in the last few days you might have see this, this one is a little different though, it's a little longer and without the narration.



Cartoon Brew has this to say:
It was an American/Japanese joint project, with no less than Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata involved in the pre-production stage (1982-83).

George Lucas, Chuck Jones, Gary Kurtz, Ray Bradbury, Chris Columbus, Moebius, John Canemaker, Leo Salkin, Paul Julian, Ken Anderson and Frank Thomas were attached to this film at one time or another.


If all of that is true, this film could have been legendary. I can remember when I was in school one of my teachers, Corny Cole brought in a drawing he did when he was asked to work on preproduction for the movie. I'm not sure how long he was on it I only saw the one drawing. It was on a huge piece of paper that took up an entire wall. It was a drawing of the dream city. I was a big fan of comic books and comic strips as a kid. I ran across a lot of Nemo Comic at my local library so I was fairly familiar with the characters and the look of the comic. This drawing looked a lot like the comic, except that it was all drawn in ballpoint pen (Corny's preferred method of drawing, he even animated with the damn thing). The drawing was very inspiring, I wish I could see it again.

Here's an example of what Corny's ballpoint drawings are like:


April 10, 2008

The Pixar Story April 22

On April 22 Starz will be showing "The Pixar Story" boy Leslie Iwerks. I've seen this film and I have to say it's really good, very inspiring. It also lays out John Lasseter's plans for Disney and hints on his plans for the future.

In any case I really recommend watching it.

March 31, 2008

2008 Demo Reel

I've put the latest copy of my demo reel on the web. Here it is for you to enjoy:

March 27, 2008

Slow Motion Slap

Here's another super slow motion test (4000 FPS). This one is a slap, it's pretty amazing how much the face deforms, the nose doesn't even look connected:

See more funny videos at CollegeHumor

March 18, 2008

Horten Comparison reel

Check out Jeff Gabor's comparison reel. It will blow your mind!

http://www.jaganimations.com/ComparisonReelHD.mov

Looks like the link doesn't work right now. Check back later hopefully it will be fixed then. Frankly I'm not surprised it's broken, I'm sure he's getting a lot of hits.

March 11, 2008

Squash: a Karate Chop

You want to see some major squash? Check out this guy chopping a brick in two with his hand slowed down to 4000FPS. Now that's some squash in that hand:

Monsters Vs. Aliens First Picture

Go here to see the first published picture for Dreamwork's upcoming film Monsters Vs. Aliens. Wow, it looks great!

http://www.iwatchstuff.com/2008/03/first_monsters_vs_aliens_shot.php

March 10, 2008

Another Famous Canadian

It looks as though the space station is getting a robot. I think I should make some sort of Wall-E reference, but even that's a stretch, this really isn't an animation post, I just think it's cool:

"Now I wouldn't go as far to say that we're worried it's going to go run amok and take over the space station or turn evil or anything because we all know how it's operated and it doesn't have a lot of its own intelligence," Reisman told The Associated Press last week.

"But I'll tell you something ... He's enormous and to see him with his giant arms, it is a little scary. It's a little monstrous, it is."



http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080308/ap_on_sc/space_shuttle_robot;_ylt=AkWeaA6I3uY.IetvFEYq6LwEtbAF

Again I'd like to welcome our future robot overlords to our humble planet.

March 6, 2008

February 29, 2008

New Iron Man Trailer

Wow, nice work. It's nice to see a super hero film where the main character has a lot of character if you know what I mean. This looks like it's going to be fun to see, can't wait. Nice work on the FX:


http://www.firstshowing.net/2008/02/28/another-full-iron-man-trailer-launches-holy-sht/

February 26, 2008

Wall-E Article on line

Total Film Magazine did a cool little article about the making of Wall-E. It has some nice pictures. I am looking forward to this movie, I expect it to be good:

http://community.livejournal.com/ohnotheydidnt/20842649.html

February 15, 2008

Art Class Rules

This is for all my Animation Mentor students, and anyone else who is studying Animation. These are a list of rules that the Immaculate Heart Collage Art Class has posted. It's a nice set of rules and I think you can apply them to animation.


Immaculate Heart Collage Art Class Rules
1. Find a place you trust and then try trusting it for a while.
2. General duties of a student: pull everything out of your teacher, pull everything out of your fellow students.
3. General duties of a teacher: pull everything out of your students.
4. Consider everything an experiment.
5. Be self-disciplined. This means finding someone wise or smart and choosing to follow them. To be disciplined is to follow in a good way. To be self-disciplined is to follow in a better way.
6. Nothing is a mistake. There is no win and no fail. There is only make.
7. The only rule is work. If you work it will lead to something. It’s the people who do all of the work all the time who eventually catch on to things.
8. Don’t try to create and analyze at the same time. They’re different processes.
9. Be happy whenever you can manage it. Enjoy yourself. It’s lighter than you think.
10. “We’re breaking all of the rules. Even our own rules. And how do we do that? By leaving plenty of room for X quantities.” - John Cage.


Link
Thanks to Boing Boing

February 14, 2008

An argument for Barack Obama

I don't know which side you lean politically. But Lawrence Lessig (a man who's intelligence I respect) gives a 20 minute argument for Barack Obama. It's a damn good one Barack has had my vote scenes I saw his speech at the Democratic convention in 2004, and he still has it today.

February 13, 2008

Bananaz: Gorillaz documentary comming out!

It looks like they're making a documentary on my favorite fake band: Gorillaz

Really it's Jamie Hewlett that I'm a fan of. There's not many illustrators out there who I'll buy anything that they scribble on, he's the exception. I'm just blown away at his design sense. The music is ok but man those illustrations are something! I found myself buying all the CDs for the cover art more then the music.

http://www.bananazfilm.com/

Thanks

More Viewing Pleasure

Here's some videos that came to me that i found entertaining:

Here's an Animjam that was made mostly using postits. It has a fun loose quality. I like to imagine the people making these were doodling while they were board working at McDonalds or something. It's probibly not true, it's just what I like to imagine:



The new trailer for Kung Fu Panda came out. It looks promising, still follows Dremworks "edgy comidy" formula but I think I'll enjoy it. There's some good animation in it, I particurly like the chopsitick battle!

http://pdl.stream.aol.com/aol/us/moviefone/movies/2008/kungfupanda_024474/kungfupanda_trlr_02_a_720p_dl.mov


Here's a blast from the past, it's clever and fun. Sure it's ripping off an old Marcel Marceau idea, but it does it so well:

February 12, 2008

ROFL: The Vote

This is great, love the Surf's Up joke at the end.

January 30, 2008

Cool but Odd Animations of the day

These two short animated films plopped on my desk today. They're booth very cool, but they both make you think: "What the hell is going on?"

The first is a short film called Codehunters, it was made by Stateless Films:



The other is a Kit-Kat short film. I call it a short film because it seems longer then your avrage commercial.

http://motionographermedia.com/akama/akama_kk.mov

Thanks to Sudhir for bringing it to my attention. Anyone know who made it? Anyone know where I can get a Kit-Kat laced with hallucinogens? I guess that's how they make Kit-Kats in Europe, it's probably the only way they remain competitive.

January 28, 2008

New Mechanical sculptures/pupets from François Delarozière and Pierre Oreficee

The artists who put on the puppet show in London: "The Sultan’s Elephant" have done it again. But this time they've creased an installation of gigantic mechanical animals in the Machines de l'Ile Nantes in Nantes France. I don't know if you'd call them puppets or machines, what ever they are they're certainly cool looking. In any case check it out:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KzyWja6vg3I

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OuSoZKjPpGE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n1ylXR-iY8I

You can find more pictures here:

http://www.darkroastedblend.com/2008/01/machine-animals-of-nantes.html

Take a look, it's truly amazing work.

January 24, 2008

Cloverfield

The non-spoiler section:

I was turned off by all the viral marketing for this movie, the trailer was long and boring, but I decided to see it anyway. And I'm glad I did. It's a fun film with 70% less camp then your average Godzilla movie. It is over hyped and if you can't stand hand held cameras then go see 20 Dresses instead. It's a fun monster movie that's done better then most monster moves are done these days. I'd recommend it, but don't expect too much.


The spoiler section:

A suggestions to JJ Abrams, read a book.
Most books introduce an idea and then explore the idea, you don't seem to like to do that. You just introduce an idea then abandon them. For example, when you introduce all little creatures that made your head explode? What was the point? If your going to introduce an idea like that at least explore it. Otherwise you end up with a well animated creature that is easly defeted with a blunt objest, but a mashene gun has no effect. Next time, just stick to the theme of a giant monster attacking a city what's wrong with exploring that idea. Save the little creatures for another film.

Also, I wish Americans could design creatures as well as the Japanese. He didn't look bad he just wasn't as cool looking as he could have been.

BTW if you haven't heard, they've already started the viral marketing for the sequel.

January 18, 2008

Quinn and Bill Peet

Here's my daughter Quinn seeing how her hands match up to the great Bill Peet's.

January 16, 2008

The Death Of HD players



The only thing that strikes me as untrue is that it depicts HD as the Nazis. I'm one of those people who believe if you buy something, you own that thing. So if I buy a Blue-Ray player and some movies, I shod own them. Sony doesn't agree with this. The way they set up their Blue-Ray players is if Sony decides that they don't like how your using it, they can destroy or change it. They do this by sending software, through the web or inside the latest movie release that will scramble or change the software on your player. Before you write this off as some sort of conspiracy theory, Sony has a history of doing this. It's more then just an anti pirating technique. Sony could also decide that you've owned that Blue-Ray player for too long and destroy it so you have to buy a new one. Or they re-release a new Blue Ray disc of Harry Potter and they decide you need to upgrade, even if you don't like having Jar Jar added to the movie. They can do this and they have a history of doing things just like it. &#*$ nazis.

Nazis who I'm going to buy a Blue Ray player from anyway (I love my gigantic plasma TV.) But Nazis none the less!





Can you Nazis release Iron Giant on blue ray please.

January 15, 2008

Pervasive Persuasion

Over the weekend I attended the Pervasive Persuasion panel. It was a panel where Gary Baseman, Simone Legno, and Tim Biskup talked about their work. It was cool hearing Tim Biskup talk about what he thought each of his paintings. My wife was able to capture a video of it, you can see that here:







Here's a picture of me and a graffiti artists that I like. Still don't know his name but, I've seen his stuff all over Culver City, (apparently he's not even from LA, or America for that matter.) His line quality is super sharp and clean it was amazing to see him work. Someone snagged that picture behind us just seconds after we moved away from it. Wish I was that fast.

Anyhoo it was a good time.

January 14, 2008

Even Pigeons Go To Heaven

Check out this amazing short film: "Even Pigeons Go To Heaven." The story, characters, animation everything is really well done. Check it out:

http://www.samueltourneux.com/PAGE1/page1.html

January 11, 2008

Must Read Bill Peet

John K has put some must read stuff about Bill Peet on his blog. Bill Peet is one of my favorite story men. When you look at his boards you can see how amazing an story man he was, it's very clear who the characters are and what they're thinking. Well it turns out he was more then a story man, he had his hands in all things. Check it out, I'd consider this a must read:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

BTW if you haven't seen his autobiography or his childrens books. Check them out now.

Prase for David O'Reily, (never thougth I'd post this)

Today I was watching Boing Boing TV this morning, like I do almost every morning. (I like me that Boing Boing TV:) The first half is more of Ape Lad's Hobo videos, I always find those entertaining. Then in the second half there's this great bit of graphic animation. Nice simple design, strong poses and timing, really cool looking. So I looked up who did it and to my surprise it was David O'Reily. I've seen a few of David O'Reily films on the web. I've found them entertaining and clever, in a weird kind of way. But today's Boing Boing TV has shown that he can actually animate with a strong design sense, which was a big surprise to me. I've known that his films were met to take the piss out of the CG animation industry but I never thought that he knew what he was doing. Anyhoo take a look and tell me what you think:



BTW, you can find a nice writeup about him here.

January 10, 2008

Story is King, written or not

There's a lot of talk about story and animation on the web right now. It's an important topic, but it seems to be focusing on whether or not animation should use a script or should go straight to boarding. With respect to Steve Worth I just can't believe that "THERE WERE NO CARTOON SCRIPTWRITERS prior to 1960." It's a nice idea, and I see what your getting at but no, not true. Brad Bird gives a strong argument for using a script and I've been reading articles by John Kricfalusi about not using a script and going straight to the boards like any good cartoonist for years (John Kricfalusi has a lot of great articles in Animation Magazene about this). With the direction that technology is going I can see a time where people will draw straight into the story reel, and we will be having arguments whether or not we need a story board before going to the reel. But in the long run who cares? Any of these techniques are just tools, and it's not the tool that creates a good story it's the person behind it. And anyone worth their weight should learn to use all these tools so they can know when to apply each one so they can then focus on the story.

So let's talk about story in animation and how it's been used in the past. (I know I'm glossing over a lot of things here, this isn't a history or story.) In my opinion there's four important turning points in regards to story telling and animation. Animated films are not known for their great stories. I'm sorry but it's true. With a few exceptions, most animated films have weak stories if they have a story at all, and that's part of the problem. If this industry is to survive or fall back into the a slump again like it did in the 1980s it will be story that will make or break it. Not the animation, script or no script.

The first faze of story telling in animation is the Loony Tunes/Silly Symphonies era, this is before feature films. These films are great, I have a big collection of them at home and I watch and step through them in an effort to improve my own work. But they have no story, they're gag films that are loosely strung on a theme. If I was to make a gag film today I'd do it the same way they made these films: no script, straight to boarding. Thinking up gags and being a "Gag Man" is a lost art, and it's something I think I'd find fun and immensely satisfying. Walt Disney made a lot of these gag films but he was smart enough to realize that you can't make a feature film this way, you need stronger characters and strong story to hold people's attention. That's the second faze, films made during Walt Disney's life, everyone knows this era, it starts with Snow White and it ends at Jungle Book when he died (smoking kills kids). With Snow White he applied basic story telling technique to animation to prove you can have more depth in Animation. That leads us to the third faze, after he died.

After Walt died people at Disney didn't know what to do. He was the one who made had all the final say in how things were done, now it was left up to a lot of different people. The animators got enough control over the animated features that they started making the films their own way way. They started making them about the animation not the story. You see this happen in live action films all the time. If the actors start taking over the film making process the film usually suffers because all the actor wants is lots of key shots that shows off their acting. The same was true for the animators at Disney. They started making lots of key shots that showed off their clever animation. If you compare the films that were being made during Walt's life (example: Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Lady and the Tramp), to those after he died (ex: Robbin hood, Sward in the Stone, Rescuers,Aristocats ) you'll see what I mean. The ones after he died have some of the best animation ever done at the studio. It's the nine old men at the top of their game. I love these films for the craft that they show, I study them for the same reason I study other films. For the craft. But I do have to concede that as a film, they're not that good. The characters are shallow, the story is week and predictable. If the story was as good as the animation they'd be great but there isn't enough balance between the two. A great acting shot with lots of little bits of clever business doesn't make a film unless it's supported by as strong story.

(Sorry I'm skipping over the comeback of animation Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast etc. this post is already a bit long and I'm trying to get to my point, my apologies, I could spend a whole post on that:)

The forth faze comes with Computer Animated films. At the time the press start throwing out stuff like the evolution of animation, hand drawn animation is dead and other bullshit like that. The fact of the matter is it was the the political environment of using a computer to animate that freed the filmmakers from making a typical animated story line. Basically they updated story, not one that was constrained to the story telling techniques of the 1940s but one that audience were used to seeing in non animated films. That was the real technological improvement of the time and it had nothing to do with the fact that they used a computer to make it. Toy Story proved that Animated Films are not a genre but a technique. But now we stand a chance of loosing that again. Does each technique of animating a film fall under it's own genera? Are all computer animated films: "buddy pictures," stop motion: "dark comedies" and traditional films: "teenage musical love stories?"

On every film I've worked on I've had shots put on hold, thrown away, delays that makes my footage tank, I've had to re-animate shots, and make changes I don't agree with. I've had to do these all for the sake of the story. Some of it has frustrated me but I've never complained (well, not that much) because I come from he school of thought that you have to be flexible, and if it doesn't move the story along, it doesn't belong in the film. I believe story is kingbecouse everyone remembers Sleeping Beauty, and no one remembers Aristocats . Story keeps people coming back, story keeps us in work, story will save us from the pit of the 1980s again. The idea that animation is the most important part of an animated film is not true, it's what got us into the pit of the '80s in the first place, who wants to go back? Board the film, write the film do what ever you have to do but just make the story good. That's up to the individual.

January 9, 2008

Animation Mentor, the cool kid in Animation Schools

There's a cool article about Animation Mentor and it's growth in popularity. Not that learning how to animate is a popularity contest. Apparently they've gone from 350 students to 700 students. That's some growth for any school. Internet schools are slowly gaining their foothold in the education community I wonder how this one compares to others:


By using the Web, Animation Mentor teachers can prepare lectures ahead of time and the students can access the lectures at their convenience.

"A student can log any time and they can watch the lectures on their own time," Beck said.

Instructors, which the school also call mentors, can work on their own time. Teachers provide students an "e-critique" of the pupil's work. The instructor, using software developed by Animation Mentor, can electronically draw on top of the student's work, making suggested changes.


I'd have to agree with this, with my schedule I don't think I could teach at Animation Mentor unless it was on line, I just can't make the commute to the local Animation Schools out here.

Congratulation Bobby, Shawn, and Carlos on your success.

Full article.

Found.