Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Princess and Some Contreversy

I saw UP this weekend and thought the movie was great. Well done, ok story and the usual good message. What is more surprising though is something I saw in the trailer. Disney's next and some say last hurrah to make a animated hand-drawn film. I thought they would take a safe route but they chose characters and a setting that have a lot of possible controversy. The Princess and the Frog is a story about a African American princess set in New Orleans in 1920. The New York Times has featured some of the contreversy and so far it seems the jury is still out. This is not the blog to address possible racism in cartoons but Disney is taking a risk with this film either way, I'm happy though that a film like this is being made and almost surprised Disney has never had a lead African American character in any of their animated films, at least in my memory.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

so, like, how do you animate?

one of the most frequent questions i get, after what do you do, is so what is animation like? how do you do it?

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:

I live in the Woods TIME LAPSE! from Max Winston on Vimeo.

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:

30 Days of shooting v.2 (the linear edit) from Kirsten Lepore on Vimeo.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Open Submissions

I've been doing a bad job filling in for Kevin. I'm not an animator so most of the material I find comes to me in commercials or music videos. Recently I've been trying to show more student work and off the beaten path type things but there much harder to cross than say, Up!. So if you are a student animator and want to be featured please send your work to here .

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

Weekend Quickees

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

All Day I Dream About Stop Motion

"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


i love the Superman Fleischer cartoons of the 40s -- they have an exquisite art design and are, for the most part, wonderfully animated. the Fleischers never had budgets so good as with these series of shorts for Paramount.

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.


Around 6th grade me and my sister made a big and life changing discovery. Japenese shows re-appropiated for American audiences. It's similar to how we copied the reality boom of the United Kingdom in the early 2000's (American Idol, Dancing with the Stars, Big Brother, etc...). I remember at some moment we were really into Disney's after school programming which had a commercial tie in with Disneyland's Toon Town.

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


I don't know much about this clip other than the fact its from Arthur de Pins. Who is a comic artist from France, his work is very colorful and borderline nsfw. It looks to be a commentary on the modern woman, from the eyes of a guy who wakes up as one. I hope I'm not losing something in translation when I'm looking at his work but I guess it's inevitable.

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.

Chris Ware

Chris Ware is one of the animators for this american life, which is a popular show on NPR. He is originally a famous cartoonist from his days creating Acme Novelty Library. Acme Novelty Library put him on the map nationally and his characters such as Quimbly the Mouse.

Quimby The Mouse from This American Life on Vimeo.

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.

[Chris Diclerico]

Monday, May 11, 2009


I have some friends who have babies and I'm always surprised what they show their kids. I used to think these shows were thrown together rather quickly but after reading Freakonomics I realized there is a lot of testing and research that goes into these shows. On one hand they have to teach kids colors, letters, words, etc. At the same time they need to keep kids glued to the TV. They've found and tested hundreds of ways to get kids involved.

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

Chromeo and Juliet

for the official release of Google's new browser Chrome, they have commissioned a series of short films/commercials. one of them in particular caught my eye while checking out something on Hulu: The Evolution of Simple

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

Tilt Shift

Me and kevin both love photography and many photographers try their hand at time lapse, usually with mediocre results. Not Keith Loutit though, he is one of the greatest tilt-shift photographers in the world right now. What is tilt shift? Well it is a type of camera lens that allows you to really control your focus points and gives you much more control over aperture. What does this have to do with animation? Take a look.

Beached from Keith Loutit on Vimeo.

Mardi Gras from Keith Loutit on Vimeo.

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

I haven't found Miss Right yet, but when I do, the whole world will hear us singing!

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:

AstroPoem XXX from Michael Nason on Vimeo.

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.

CatMan from Michael Nason on Vimeo.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Tiger Woods and pepper films

Gatorade recently has been revamping their image in the face of vitamin water's popularity. their new ads though are recalling images from the lion king and jungle book. done by pepper films who has close ties with disney the new Tiger ads show him as a kid being mentored by a bear, voiced by Samuel L. Jackson.

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

Let the Animation Begin!

so this is pretty lame, but it really excites me that i made this tonight:

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 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!