Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Principles of Animation

Hey Everyone

I found this interesting post on  the Principles of Animation broken down from Toy Story. The link seems to come from The Department of Visualization at Texas AM. It seems like an older post but a good break down of the Principles as they relate to Toy Story and it even comes with visuals a-la, Quicktimes and Images.


So check it out here and enjoy!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Workflow Highlights: Matt Williames

Hey Everyone

I have seen this blog before and some of you I'm sure have seen his work on Youtube and Vimeo. Matt Williames has some great 2D animation throughout the web. You can also see lots on Pencil Test Depot.

Most recently I have been looking at his blog the Hand Drawn Nomad, where there are lots of posts dedicated to animation techniques and tricks. I found a few post on workflow from his site. Great stuff all around and I just thought I would share it.

Step 1: Planning Your Shot





Step 1 and a half: Before you rough out your shot (Tips and Tricks)




Post 2 and a half: Breaking it down


So check them out and enjoy

Saturday, March 27, 2010


EGYPT - Donald And the Wheel (1961)

This is actually one of several segments from a truly humungous master pan BG. Previously I posted the recreated Greek section.

I've been meaning to work on this EGYPT section for months. I finally got around to it! It wasn't easy. There is a chariot race is this scene. I could only build this slowly, one slice at a time. Near the end of the "pan," two horses (with two different Donalds!) actually criss-cross! Here's what I had to contend with:

I couldn't clear the entire image, but I was able to recreate most of the pan background, with Donald and his horse split. Don't even ask me why, it just worked out this way! I did a little clean-up painting in Photoshop, but 99% of this is original and un-retouched,

As usual I have split the sections so you can see more detail. Here's the left side Sphinx section.

Here's a close-up of the right side. I like the little cluster of palm trees in the middle.

I am far from expert at mediums, but it appears to be pastels. Expert opinions - please!

Friday, March 26, 2010

How to Train Your Dragon

(No spoilers.)

While I haven't seen all the DreamWorks animated features, I've seen most of them. How to Train Your Dragon is my favorite so far. While I enjoyed Kung Fu Panda, I didn't find Po's transformation from loser to warrior convincing. The arc for Hiccup, the boy pictured above, is better constructed and the plot points are all in place.

The story has elements of E.T. and is pretty predictable, but it is well told and emotionally satisfying. There's a good balance of humour and suspense. The film is built on a father-son relationship that works within the context of the film and resembles Disney's Chicken Little. The dragon designs are nicely balanced between caricature and menace and the Vikings are fun to look at.

There are things that I could criticize in the film, but they don't detract from the overall experience. I saw the film flat, not in 3D, as I was more interested in judging the story elements than I was the technique. I still found the camera moves too busy in the early part of the film and wonder if I would have suffered whiplash had I watched it in 3D. The children, except for the male and female leads, are one dimensional, which often happens with supporting characters in animated films. It's a bit of a stretch to have Vikings talking with Scottish accents, though I guess it is plausible. The relationship of the largest dragon to the others is not clear and probably unscientific. I can't say more without spoiling something.

I couldn't help thinking while watching the film that should it outgross Disney's Bolt (and it deserves to), it will be vindication for director Chris Sanders, who was removed from the Disney film by John Lasseter. Dragon also seems to me to be the DreamWorks film most dominated by it's directors (Sanders and Dean Dublois). With DreamWorks now set on releasing 5 films every two years, I think it would be all to the good for Jeffrey Katzenberg to loosen the reins a little and let directors put their stamp on films.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Miscellaneous Links

Kris Graft of Gamasutra writes that Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment will be opening a gaming studio in Montreal that will gradually grow t0 300 employees by 2015.

Bhob Stewart writes about The Mickey Mouse Theater of the Air, a 1938 radio series which initially featured Walt Disney himself as host and the voice of Mickey Mouse. Stewart provides a player for seven episodes of the series.

Fantagraphics will soon publish the fourth volume of Our Gang comics by Walt Kelly. A complete 14 page story from the book in PDF format can be found here.

Farhad Manjoo of Slate reviews Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier, about creating an online business with minimal start-up costs. You can read excerpts from the book here.

(Gamasutra link via James Caswell.)

The Great Canadian Migration

Two articles in The Globe and Mail caught my eye this week. They clearly point to the future and they have repercussions for Canadian animation.

A survey from Ipsos Reid shows that Canadian viewers are now spending more time on the internet than they are watching TV. The average now is 18 hours a week vs. 17 hours of TV watching. Time spent online has been growing annually, and there is no sign that it will stop.

The other important item was that the Canadian Radio and Television Commission, in charge of regulating TV, has dithered yet again. There's been a battle going on over whether broadcast networks would receive money from cable and satellite companies for their signals. Until now, the cable companies have retransmitted those signals for free. Rather than make a firm decision, the CRTC asked the Court of Appeals to decide whether the CRTC had jurisdiction. Should the court rule that it does, the CRTC says that broadcasters should receive compensation, but declined to say how much. The figure should be negotiated between broadcasters, cable companies and satellite providers.

No one knows how long it will take for the court to rule and if negotiations will produce any results. Everyone's assumption is that cable fees will increase to cover the compensation.

What we're left with is an audience that is walking away from television and a government bureaucracy that is ignoring that fact. The media landscape is changing rapidly and the government can't move faster than a crawl. Even if a decision is made quickly, any increase in cable rates for subscribers is only likely to drive people away from TV that much faster.

Canadian TV is in a death spiral. As the audience leaves, advertising revenues will go down. As revenues drop, so will TV budgets. Cheaper shows will drive more of the audience away, resulting in still lower revenues.

Those working in Canadian TV have never had it easy. Those animation studios depending on Canadian TV for their livelihood would be smart to start diversifying immediately. I'm betting that in five years, we won't recognize what Canadian TV has become and the CRTC will be powerless to stop the changes.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Schoolism: Assignment #9

 For the last assignment we were to redraw Jerry Loomy, the character we first did in lesson one, cleaned up and colored. Also place the first one we did from lesson one next to it. 
My reference:

Friday, March 19, 2010

Blog Highlight: Mike Nguyen

So I guess my first thought when surfing this blog was WOW! My next thought...Why haven't I seen this blog yet?

So with those thoughts let me guide you guys over there. Mike Nguyen has a blog called Rainplace.
There are so many great post on here that I will not begin to tell you too look at just one, but rather take some time and look at lots of great posts about animation.

I will however let you know about a couple. One post on Phrasing, Mike talks about force in animation and breaks it down like:

"‘Feel’ by transferring this very abstract sense of force to an equivalent in sound, or by the use of hand or body movement to mimic, reading scene’s rhythm, spotting its ebbs and flows in pause places, speeding up, constant, slow down; and then divide them into short phrases (like a melody line or ways of spoken words)."


He has two more follow up post on Phrasing as well and a great post on Squash and Stretch.
He also is making a feature film called My Little World. You can also take some classes if your so inclined as he teaches up at CalArts.

Squash and Stretch

So take a look around and enjoy!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Rare Mickey

Last June, I posted about Michael Sragow's biography, Victor Fleming: American Movie Master. One of the films that Fleming directed was Around the World in 80 Minutes (1931), a documentary starring Douglas Fairbanks. The reason for my post was that the film contained original Disney animation of Mickey Mouse. I was not aware of this and a quick scan of the animation history books on my shelf didn't lead to any information.

Over at Didier Ghez's Disney History site, JB Kaufman was able to provide some information, as he had screened the film at the Library of Congress.

I recently learned that the film is now on DVD from Grapevine Video. I purchased a copy, and below you'll see some extremely rare Mickey animation. I have no idea who animated it, though I might guess Dick Lundy. Enjoy.

Friday, March 12, 2010

ImageMovers Digital to Close

The Wrap is reporting that Disney is closing down ImageMovers Digital, the studio responsible for the production of the motion captured films directed by Bob Zemeckis, including The Polar Express, Beowulf and A Christmas Carol. Disney purchased the studio in 2007. The article implies that Disney is still interested in going ahead with the Yellow Submarine remake, though it's unclear if the closing means that they will subcontract future motion capture or use other techniques instead.

UPDATE: There are some interesting comments from the industry perspective at the Animation Guild Blog.

Copyright and Creators

"What we have now is you can get paid for craft. You don’t get paid for art. You get paid for craft. Every animator that I know, or almost every animator that I know, works at a studio, working on shit. They know it’s shit. They do their best to not think about it, but it’s god-awful commercial shit.

Which is not to say that commercial stuff is bad, I’m not anti-commerce. But it’s devised by some idiot, it’s lowest common denominator, and this is what really talented people do. They do crap work. And it’s not just in animation; it’s at all levels."
The above quote comes from an interview (part 1, part 2) with Nina Paley that covers her personal history and issues revolving around copyright. It's part of a larger roundtable discussion on copyright that can be found here and includes composer Jonathan Newman (who rebuts Paley) and an attorney who summarizes the history of copyright.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Timing in Animation: Animation Mentor Newsletter

Hey Everyone

I ran across this quick article on Timing from the Animation Mentor Newsletter. It's written by an animator named Kenny Roy and you can check out his blog here. He does a great job in describing his thoughts on working through timing in a workflow and especially early on when you are still trying to figure out what timing is. He mentions an "inner monologue," which is a great way to do your non-dialogue pieces. So take a look and get some tips to one of the most important principles of animation. Timing!


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Animation Demo Reels on Vimeo

A buddie started a vimeo channel some time ago for his collection of animation demo reels that inspired, impressed, amused. He has collected over 50 of them and that thought others might enjoy the collection as well.

Check out his blog here for his original post.



Monday, March 8, 2010

POOH pan background

In this charming pan background, Christopher Robin walks to the tree and back. I was able to digitally remove him. Kanga and Eeyore stay put, however, simply watching... so they remain. Notice the beautiful detail - especially Christopher Robin's toys!