Friday, October 23, 2009
"I didn't really have any expenses to speak of. The materials are really simple.
The figures are made of paper and wood and the background is a bulletin board
made of cork on which I scattered grass from models," Bizanski, 22, relates.
"But from my point of view, the hardest thing was the uncertainty about
whether the band would like the clip I made for it."
i really like the simple and effective character design of the cows. they're endearing and sad at the same time. Adam's 2006 video for Wolf Parade's "Modern World" takes his style and goes a bit further.
the replacement mouths really jump out at you, like at points in Coraline, but in here its really part of the whole design and style that Adam's set up. the undulation on the piano is one of my favorite parts. the eyes look like they're done in after effects, though I may be wrong. it took him about a month and a half to complete.
more recently, he's been taking on commercial work including this bizarre puppet-based Huggies "Little Swimmers" advert:
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Toronto-based indie video game developer Capybara Games has been busy whipping up some amazing visuals for their primarily puzzle mini-games. originally, they were making these for downloadable content as well as for nintendo ds and iphones -- but they've ported their game "Critter Crunch" in all its full HD-glory to the Playstation 3. at $6.99, this game has made more of an impact than its $50+ bretheren with reviewers and gamers alike:
“You might not normally expect a lot of visual flair from a puzzle game, but Critter Crunch will ruin you on this. It sets a new standard for graphics in the genre and is simply one of the best looking games on PSN. Luckily, it also has the gameplay to back up the looks.” IGN
in addition to the fun though limited character animation, their backgrounds are really exquisite:
check out their official trailer here:
Thursday, October 8, 2009
i'm currently trying to storyboard some new film ideas for my 2nd year film (though i'm still in the laborious process of completing that darned first year film that seems to get longer and longer). last year at PROM, perhaps my favorite 2nd year film was that of classmate Sijia Luo. its a beautifully designed and animated short that follows a young kid explaining exactly why he was late to the teacher. the backgrounds were done in gouache and i believe the animation was done in Flash.
i can't wait to see what she does this year! enjoy.
Friday, July 17, 2009
since 2003, Screen Novelties has quietly become one of the most unique and inventive stop motion boutiques in Hollywood with minimal crew and lots of ideas and expertise. you are already probably familiar with the commercials and shorts on their reel -- they were also the animation directors on Robot Chicken and Moral Orel at one point.
just this past Annie awards they were nominated for their Rotofugi spot.
and the news that their short Monster Safari, originally pitched to networks for a TV show, was picked up by The Henson Company for feature film production, still in stop motion, and directed by the guys -- Mark Caballero, Seamus Walsh, and Chris Finnegan, was well publicized and well received by the film and animation community.
i was interested to check out some of their lesser known stuff (or at least spots i hadn't seem before). here's an advertisement for The Offspring's last album "Splinter" that's a collaboration between Tawd Dorenfeld and Screen Novelties:
and while i can't say i'm a fan of the music, the animation for The Junior Varsity music video of "The Sky!" is very energetic and impressive:
they also animated the logo at the end of this mostly CG/live-action spot for career builder that played during the Super Bowl in 2008:
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Stop motion features, in the history of animation, have been few and far between. Until very recently, you could count them on one hand. Maybe a foot too. However, in the past year or so, there seems to have been an explosion of stop motion animation -- independent stop motion feature animation at that. Adam Eliot's Mary & Max has been playing at festivals around the world, Tatia Rosenthal's $9.99 has been wowing audiences in theaters, and, of course, Henry Selick's Coraline made a respectable showing with a big push from Focus Features earlier this year.
Now, we have Canada's first stop motion feature to look forward to -- Edison & Leo. The voice of Leo, Gregory Smith, explains the film as such: "It is about a character named George Edison, who is loosely based on Thomas Edison, and his relationship with his son, Leo. His son is accidentally electrocuted as a child so he son grows up as Electric Boy. He can't touch anyone without electrocuting them, and that is sort of the set up for these zany, crazy adventures that follow."
the animation released thus far looks beautiful. this clip seems to place the movie, perhaps surprisingly, in Disaster: The Movie type of territory in a way, but with much more mannered movements:
finally, Sylvie Trouve's animation reel is stunningly beautiful and contains a bit more animation from Edison & Leo with a character moment between the two leads:
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Friday, June 26, 2009
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Thursday, June 11, 2009
::weareom:: also created this wonderful Lego spot for Alpha Bank not too long ago.
also, this past week was the end of the year animation screening for UCLA MFA Students (as well as a few undergraduates of varied disciplines). this one by Aglaia Mortcheva was definitely one of my favorites. its style is very similar to Amy Winfrey's, so its no surprise to see her name on the special thanks at the end of the credits (Aglaia is also the voice of Vendetta on Winfrey's upcoming "Making Fiends" show at Nickelodeon).
Sunday, May 31, 2009
Saturday, May 30, 2009
its one of those things that's really hard to describe. especially stop motion, I think -- at least for me. i kinda, you know, move stuff around slowly, little by little. so when i come across a video that can explain the process experientially, i'm overjoyed. if only for the fact that i can relate to the painful process i can see! Max Winston's amazing looking "I Live in the Woods" seems to have been quite a fun and back-breaking ordeal and i'm glad that he helped us go through it with him:
this one's more of a video blog of a making of a stop motion film, but it really gets to the heart of the process and common mishaps that always seem to pop up. it documents a period of months between February and May. it also, of course, shows the life of a college student:
Friday, May 29, 2009
In the meantime I've found this website that has some great animation called Animation World Network Television. Kinda wordy but it works. They are a great one stop place to find lots of short films and clips and have a layout that someone thought about. So try to get your work in to us and we'll feature them as soon as we can.
Saturday, May 23, 2009
The simpsons had a significant effect on me growing up. I met some kids in high school and we can still remember when we retold every single joke the monday after the show showed. I ran across this amazing site though called Springfield Punx. This is an awesome idea and his work is spot on. Here are some samples.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
"The playoffs are when the year starts for me." My friend Cassie told me that and I know it to be true for all die hard NBA fans. I'm partial to the Laker's after years aimlessly following the continual decline of the Clippers. I'm surprised Kevin hasn't totally abandoned his Padres yet after their public decision to release or trade all their good players. The NBA has the best marketing of players and the game itself as these new animations, a project with free darko and Chali 2na from Jurrasic 5, show.
Free Darko came to fame as an artist who really liked making fun of the NBA. His blog title comes from the infamous drafting of Darko Millicic who was drafted ahead of future Hall of Famer, Carmelo Anthony. Darko became more infamous after the most disgusting tirade of all time and has spent his career living up to his draft position. Basketball aside Free Darko is a great artist with a style heavy on geometric shapes and design. He recently came out with a book devoted to the nba which has great art in a similar style.
One last NBA plug. These new commercials for the NBA are mesmerizing. My favorite things in life are simplicity executed perfectly and these commercials really capture what the NBA is going for and why I watch every game I can. This is not animation, per se, but anyone who has ever done masking in photoshop or wire removal will be happy to see the results.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
while re-watching "The Mechanical Monsters" episode, one of the early classics, i thought i saw a big animation jump. i thought for sure it must have been a film print scratch or artifact. upon further review, at least this print (the one from the Bosko DVD collection as well as one up on youtube) has two characters pop up and disappear in a frame or two.
its much more obvious in motion, check it out at around 3:03/3:04:
on the stop motion side of things, Robin Yannoukos' latest film "Alice's Attic" from the UCLA Animation Workshop and Bix Pix Entertainment is up for the Student Academy Awards and is also featured on VSM Cinema here. the sharpness and animation smoothness is amazing, especially for "student" work. its got a great Brothers Quay type aesthetic to it, without getting too abstract that it alienates its audience, with a little Barry Purves thrown in for good measure. it must've been a lot of fun collecting all those little props! at any rate, highly recommended.
Almost overnight though, a slew of Japanese shows started showing up. First it was the success of Power Rangers, who were a bunch of ethnically diverse teenagers fighting monsters after school. Then the Anime started slipping in slowly. Sailor Moon was a big hit with my sister, while I was obsessed with Ronin Warriors and the American Mighty Max.
I guess this phase ended with me with Pokemon. It may sound hard to believe to people younger than 20 but this was like crack when it first hit. The video game tie in, the collection of monsters, a popular card game, and the movies made this a phenomenon with unlimited merchandising potential. Even the shows tag line was consumer driven "gotta catch them all!" A lot of kids me included spent a lot of money on Pokemon. I'm not sure how this opened the doors for manga to infiltrate Barnes and Nobles or how much affect it had on animation in general, but it definitely seems weird to look back on. I guess we shouldn't have spent all that space cash.
PS: We have recently reached our 100th post. Kevin is planning a Best of the Blog so far and I can't wait to read it. His vision for this blog has been amazing so far and I know he enjoys working on it as much as you do reading it. Congrats to 100!
Thursday, May 14, 2009
This other clip is a more light hearted story of crabs. You can find more of his work at his website. It doesn't seem to that mac friendly either, at least with Firefox. I'm really a stickler for cross platform compatability.
His style to me seems so familiar, I'm not sure if it due to the fact that his fact has been that influential or if his work is just that embedded around us. Either way his work is refreshing and simple. The style is minimalist with clean lines that are influenced as much by design as they are by classic cartoons. The NPR dialogue matches his work perfectly. I haven't listened to people tell stories on the radio like this but it is amazing.
Monday, May 11, 2009
I can't stand blues clue's though. Little Einstein though is something I actually would watch. It's about a group of kids going around the world solving puzzles. Unlike Blue's Clues there is a little more action and it reminds me more of toddler's Scooby Doo. Little Einstein is Disney backed, produced by Curious Pictures who also do other animations. Blues Clue's is shown on Nick Jr., and produced at Nick Studios in NYC. If your interested into all the inner workings of Blue's Clues I highly recommend Freakonomics.
Sunday, May 10, 2009
the very clean and well animated short was done by Japan's Pantograph, essentially referencing the mega-blockbuster Atari 2600 game Breakout. it was one of the few games, like Kaboom!, that held its own with its addictively simple gameplay.
Pantograph also did an ad for one of Google's immediate competitors in browser supremacy in 2008:
Saturday, May 9, 2009
The effect is great and these real people are displayed in a way that we think were looking at a ant colony. According to Keith "These photographs and short films were made in ordinary places, probably not too unlike where you live." I like the simplicity of it. And if I had to guess he probably uses a tripod,a intervolometer, a tilt shift lens on a Digital SLR, and animation software to stitch everything together.
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
one of the most likeable and enthusiastic voice-over actors in a long time has passed. Dom Deluise died yesterday at the age of 75. his love for voice-over started with a handful of Don Bluth productions including the roles of Jeremy the crow in The Secret of NIMH, Tiger in An American Tail and its sequel (not done by Bluth) An American Tail: Fievel Goes West, Itchy in All Dogs Go to Heaven, and the lead in the little-known A Troll in Central Park. in his later life, he worked almost exclusively in voice-over in guest spots for various shows like Duck Dodgers and Dexter's Laboratory. in all the sequels and rehashes of An American Tail and Secret of NIMH, he kept continuity by voicing them through what I would imagine would be less than satisfactory material compared to the originals. check out one of the original trailers of The Secret of NIMH:
changing gears completely, Cartoon Brew featured a rather unanimated short by Michael Nason yesterday involving Confederate Fruit singing "Dixieland." While it lacks for nothing in concept, the execution left a lot to be desired for me. checking out some of his other videos, however, has led me to the realization that this guy may be a complete and utter genius.
AstroPoem XXX is rated X for ".Gif sex" -- and there's a lot of it. he uses Gif animations to create a very unique type of experience that I dare say even outdoes Tim and Eric for out-there-ness:
perhaps even more engaging is his attempt at "narrative" I suppose in the adventures of "Catman." its populated by many more gifs and limited animation cycles, but its a total film experience...if a very experimental one.
Monday, May 4, 2009
The rest of the work from pepper films is done in the same saturday morning style, most of their work looks to be in advertising. here though is another sports related commercial of theirs.
Sunday, May 3, 2009
super simple and not great looking, but it'll do as a coat rack for the inside of the house! for my stop motion project, that is. simple wood parts, mostly from michael's -- the base is part of a tealight (minus the bulb).
for now, i'm immersed in animation till (hopefully) the end of this month. i'm already having terrible problems trying to keep my puppets upright. here's a still from the opening setup of the film:
this gigantic house has taken over my living room. its roughly 5ft X 5ft, but its on 2ft sawhorses...so it about touches my ceiling:
while i sporadically update on the production here, my friend Dan Dao will be posting some stuff in my absence. he's pretty good at finding rare and interesting videos online.
finally, as if you weren't excited enough, here's a rough title by my other talented friend Cassie Harris:
wish me luck!
Saturday, March 28, 2009
from a beginner in stop motion, there' s an awesome claymated short shot on film -- its extremely crisp, has great animation, and also features wonderful timing.
the stats he provided on the film:
"Shot on Fuji Eterna 8553 (250t rated at 200) 510 feet or so.
Camera: Mitchell GC with JK animation motor (Thanks again Rick!)
Lenses: Nikkor 24mm, 28mm, 35mm, 55 micro.
Processing and HD transfer: Alpha Cine Labs, Seattle.
The 35mm neg was scanned to one big uncompressed quicktime file, about 50 gigs.
Cut on Final Cut Express
Wire removal and clean up with Photoshop CS4
Total cost for film, processing and transfer was under $300 (estimated)."
i would've liked to seen a little bit more...but its a great short. check it out if you can on Patrick Neary's site.
Friday, March 27, 2009
and if you haven't gotten your stop motion fix yet today, count from one to thirteen with Milo in a segment from an early 90s Sesame Street. they always seem to have great, creative animation on the show (as well as puppetry):
Thursday, March 26, 2009
The Magic Portal, for lack of a better description, is all that is BrickFilm. It is the beginning and the end. created in four years from 1985 to 1989 on a grant of $11,745 from the Australian government, Lindsay Fleay came to create what would be both the same and opposite to BrickFilm as we know it.
shot on film and using an optical printer, Fleay is able to get all kinds of effects and aesthetics that elude regular BrickFilms because, well, they're cheap. i believe its really a transcendent work and deserves to get more visibility. besides the fact that it includes many different types of animation (not purely LEGO), it stretches to tell a unique story that isn't pigeonholed by its LEGO-ness, which many BrickFilms are. part 2001: A Space Odyssey, part Tron -- The Magic Portal is a wonderful filmmaking experience that just wouldn't be attempted anymore. the camera moves and effects are like have never been seen before in the genre.
check out the story from the man himself here.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
the internet is abuzz with the debut of the trailer for Spike Jonze's troubled Where the Wild Things Are adaptation:
the well-publicized problems on the production included wholesale reshoots and literally changing the way that the monsters were portrayed. the trailer doesn't give up much on details, other than Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs being credited for the music. Jonze seems to be going for some indie cred here (along with the Arcade Fire song playing underneath the trailer), but he might end up misfiring considering he's adapting a children's book. the ten sentence book by Maurice Sendak has been in development hell for years, with Disney taking a crack at it (admittedly, only a test) with a combination of computer generated environments and cel character animation with John Lasseter back in the 80s:
only time will tell if its all been worth it. $115 million dollars worth it.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
and as you can see, Saturday is going pretty fast at 69%. it gets bigger and crazier every year, so if you've gotta have it, be sure to get yourself some one-day passes.
stumbled across this hand drawn Tim Fite video that's pretty rad, animated by the singer himself.
Sunday, March 15, 2009
its no surprise to find out that she worked on "The Science of Sleep," which had some really innovative animation (if the story was less than satisfactory). what led to her work on the film? 2005's award-winning student film Pistache:
Saturday, March 14, 2009
much apologies again for not posting. its my final week of school for the winter quarter. almost done with the main set. the POV shot is shaping up very cool. i'll try to post a test or two after next week, and then will resume a much regular posting schedule.
the only animation that i have to report on -- if you've haven't checked it out, Matt and Trey's sly skewering of the Disney business model debuted on Wednesday night, the first of the thirteenth season. call me crazy, but South Park hasn't lost its edge one bit. in fact, i think they've only gotten better over the years.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
anyway, i thought i'd share an old favorite of mine that got a lot of internet play back in the day. originally born in England, Philip Eddolls was raised in Ontario and attended the Ontario College of Art and Design where he produced 'Wat a Wonderful Day' in 2006, a primarily stop motion effort involving a simple, but effective story of a power-hungry bunny:
his latest work is for the National Film Board of Canada. named 'Git Gob,' its kind of a story that defies summarization. needless to say -- its weird, fun, and perhaps a little less narrative than 'Wonderful Day.' i love the ending:
check out more of his stuff if you dig it on his website. he's done a number of high profile music videos in the past couple years, some puppet and some animated.
Sunday, March 8, 2009
there's a great conversation going on over at Cartoon Brew over the legitimacy of the Best Animated Film Oscar -- does it ghetto-ize animation into some kind of 'genre,' does it legitimize animation finally after years of "special oscars," or perhaps is it somewhere in between?
personally, i tend to look on the side of better exposure and recognition for the art form and the films involved. that said, i understand the argument in pigeonholing animated films to their own categories. they are still allowed to compete in the "regular" categories along with their live-action counterparts, but they are less likely to be included. its been almost two decades since 'Beauty and the Beast' was nominated for the Best Picture Oscar.
and on a completely different topic, here's a nice stop motion animated film that deals with the imperfect process of scientific breakthroughs, i suppose. its a collaborative effort from three students: Nino Christen, Maya Galluzzi, and Tabea Rothfuchs. the only that really bothers me about it -- the assistant in the film must've had the world's longest roll of film!
"Maggoty" from Nino Gabriel on Vimeo.
Thursday, March 5, 2009
for a studio that pretty much made mostly crap, Van Beuren had a hit or two. 1935's The Sunshine Makers is probably my favorite. its creepy, well designed, and subversive. to me, it really sticks out as a reinforcement of status quo. the sunshine makers batter the other side until they conform without a doubt. its scary stuff. and i dig it!
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
firstly, let me send out my hearty congratulations to Justin and Shel Rasch, who I believe are 5 for 5 in film festival awards. their film, Gerald's Last Day, has been enthusiastically received by the animation community as well as the the film community in general now. after the festival news comes the momentous announcement that their short film will be played on Delta Airlines flights to 10s of 1000s of passengers! and with that, comes (albeit) a limited engagement on Delta's website, that i strongly encourage you check out. its stunningly crafted and animated, with a pretty touching and, at times sad story to boot. the orchestral score is also quite impressive for an independently animated short stop motion film.
and on a completely different note, i've been checking out the state of webcomics on my free time. some are good, some are bad -- some are overly complicated with plot and dialogue, some are almost too simplistic in a New Yorker type of sense. one that seems to hit a few good notes every once in a while is Toothpaste For Dinner. here's a few of the simple and subversive panels i've enjoyed:
and, of course, life wouldn't be the same without Garfield. or, rather, without Garfield Minus Garfield. this is pretty indicative of my current state of affairs. you're not alone Jon!
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
"Love on the Wing" is simply an amazing technical accomplishment that would rarely even be attempted in this age of digital compositing. in 1938, Norman McLaren created his final film for the General Post Office Unit of Britain. essentially, an ad. but as anyone who's ever seen a McLaren film before knows, his works usually end up being much more abstract than your average product-pushing commercial.
the film involves drawing directly onto the 35MM film strip (a practice that would become a staple of his repertoire) and over a multi-plane and from what looks like at least a partially three dimensional background. being able to keep his drawings even somewhat registered must have been a nightmare without the aid of a digital framegrabber. truly impressive -- i believe George Melies would be in awe.
Monday, March 2, 2009
avert your eyes young children! generally considered the first pornographic cartoon, it was made as a collaboration of several different well-renowned studios in New York. reportedly involved were the Fleischer Brothers, Paul Terry, the Mutt and Jeff studio, and Walter Lantz (of later Woody Woodpecker fame). each studio would work on a section without telling the other studio what they were doing. watch out for impending bestiality.
supposedly, it was for a party in honor of animation great Winsor McCay.
Sunday, March 1, 2009
once again, be sure to check out Sita Sings the Blues for free online here.
back when Windows 95 was first released, they commissioned some "Welcome to Windows 95" animations. Bill Plympton was first in line. its pretty creative -- and it encapsulates what they want your experience to be like with the program. whether it was or not is another matter entirely.
a much more lush video art wise is Joan Granz' take on the matter. she uses a technique known as clay painting, "working directly under the camera with colored oil based clay":
her 1992 oscar-winning short "Mona Lisa Descending a Staircase" is even more impressive, showing different famous works of art morphing into each other using the labor-intensive technique. granted, it may overstay its welcome, but its no less impressive:
Saturday, February 28, 2009
primetime animated shows that last longer than a season are exceedingly rare. especially if your name is not Matt Groening, Mike Judge, or Seth MacFarlane. coming this Spring to FOX, is an apology to Mitch Hurwitz for canceling Arrested Development! in the form of an animated series...that looks rather dull. of course, i'll reserve entire judgment till it premieres, but nothing grabs me from the promos other than the level of talent involved (Jason Bateman, Will Arnett, and Henry Winkler all play a part in the new series). its a remake of an Australian show of the same name from the early 00s. and FYI Fox, Sit Down, Shut Up is not the first animation to use real backgrounds with animated characters. see: Ralph Bakshi.
this all said, it could be very neat. let's hope for the best. its got to at least be better than the upcoming Cleveland Show. check out the promo to see if it might be your cup of tea. promising: Tom Kenny is part of the cast.