Sunday, October 30, 2011

Upcoming Toronto Events

On November 4 at the NFB (150 John Street), the Toronto Student Animation Festival will screen. The doors open at 6:00 and the screening runs from 6:30 to 8:30. Admission is $10. John Bissylas, a local high school teacher, created a festival several years ago to showcase the animation of high school students. This screening, however, will feature work from older students from around the world.

On November 10, there will be an industry event to raise funds and awareness for the Toronto Animated Arts Festival International. It's an animation festival that will take place next June at the Bell Lightbox downtown. Admission to the fundraiser is $15 in advance and $20 at the door and the event takes place at the Vogue Supperclub, 42 Mowat Avenue in Liberty Village.

You Can't Go Home Again

Børge Ring called the above to my attention. It's a 2005 Tom and Jerry, co-directed by Joe Barbera. In some ways, it does a remarkably good job of duplicating the look and feel of the Hanna-Barbera Tom and Jerry cartoons of the 1940s and '50s. However, in other ways, it doesn't, and surrounded by those things that work, the lapses stand out even more.

Børge pointed out that Bill Hanna's timing just isn't there and that this cartoon inadvertently shows the importance of Hanna's contribution. He's right. For instance, the gag at 3:05 where Tom hurtles into the garbage truck is timed too slowly. Hanna never would have had the extended pause between Tom landing and the jaws closing. Furthermore, the jaws would have closed faster. That wouldn't have been true to life, but it would have been funnier.

Like the opening titles, a collision of Warner Bros. and MGM fonts, some of the character poses look to be from Warner Bros. rather than MGM. Jerry's look to the audience at 2:36 smacks of Chuck Jones. Jerry's pose at 1:36 has the look of a Robert McKimson cartoon. Tom's look to the camera at 3:26, with his eyes merging, is also more reminiscent of Warners.

The music can't compare to the exuberance of Scott Bradley's scores.

There are good things here. The characters stay on model. The animators have captured the way Tom scrambles off screen, including the subtle stretch in his mid-section, and have also captured the way Hanna and Barbera had characters shooting and rebounding into holds. As I said above, because so much of this is right, what's wrong stand out and that is why you can't go home again.

Revivals work in the theatre because the originals only exist in memory. There is no expectation that a revival will duplicate the look and feel of the original because the original is not there for comparison. In film and TV, though, the originals are not only there, they are often front and center, showing right next to attempts at a revival. The comparisons are inescapable.

Creative works are not only the product of people, they're also the products of a time and place. As the world keeps changing, it is impossible to recreate something from the past. While artists often wish to duplicate what they love, they can only approximate it. Paradoxically, the closer they get to it, the more they've succeeded in doing nothing more than an good imitation. And since the originals are everywhere to begin with, is an imitation necessary?

From a corporate standpoint, it's another cartoon to add to the library. From an artistic standpoint, it's a dead end. What could this budget and these creators, including 94 year old Joe Barbera, have come up with if they tried something new?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Free Rig: Malcolm Rig

Some might know already and some have not yet heard but the Malcolm Rig is now FREE and available both in SoftImage and Maya. I've been messing around with it and MAN...I haven't even had time to get into all the goodies of this rig. He is super appealing and I believe that's what Dave Gallagher wanted. I've heard him say that it has been his passion and dream to release a free rig like this that has all of this AMAZING capabilities. So head on over to the AnimSchool site and you see the Malcolm Image or just click here. He has also put up a forums page where you can give feedback and receive tips on the rig and it's already up and running. Also check out the "How To" video for Malcolm. It should explain most stuff. It's in the forum section or over on YouTube.

Don't forget to go to the Download Agreement and then you'll be all set.
Enjoy! I certainly am!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Kristof Serrand - Pencil Tests

Kristof Serrand


The Prince of Egypt (1998)

Balto (1995)

We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story (1993)

An American Tail: Fievel Goest West (1991)

Presto (2008) - Animatics

Chuck Jones' Comic Strip

Comic Book Resources has an interview with Dean Mullaney and Kurtis Findlay, who have edited Chuck Jones: The Dream that Never Was, a collection of the comic strip Crawford that Jones did in the late 1970s. The book will be available in December.

I remember reading the strip and clipped a few of them before I lost interest. One of the ironies of Jones' career is that he received more attention and opportunity when his work was in decline than he did when he was at his peak. Crawford suffers from the cuteness that infected much of his post-Warner Bros. work and the coarsening of his drawing that also occurred then.

I will definitely look this book over when it is published for the opportunity to see unpublished work and to compare my current impression with my memories of the strip, but I don't believe that Crawford is a hidden treasure that will add anything to Jones' reputation. This is not Peanuts or Calvin and Hobbes. If it was, the strip never would have been cancelled and would be better known today.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Another Loomis Reprint

The second volume of the reprinting Andew Loomis's art instruction books is now available. I've seen copies in stores, though Amazon won't release it until Oct. 25.

Loomis was a commercial illustrator in the days when mass circulation magazines were full of painted illustrations accompanying fiction. He also authored a series of art instruction books that are still much sought after, even 6 decades after first being published. The books were out of print for years and copies commanded over $100 apiece on used book sites. Titan Books (who are also publishing The Simon and Kirby Library; the next volume is of their crime comics and due out momentarily) have undertaken to reprint Loomis. This volume follows Figure Drawing for All It's Worth. While art styles have changed since Loomis's day, the fundamentals don't change. Anyone interested in learning to draw will benefit from Loomis's books.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Those Animated Lectures

By now, I assume everybody has experienced at least one of the lectures illustrated/animated by cartoon drawings on a whiteboard. They are done by Andrew Park, a British artist who listens to each audio entry 50 times before completing his art.

Here's an article on Park, detailing his approach to making these pieces.

Screen Captures

From Galloping Gaucho

From Peter Pan features thousands of screen captures from shorts, features, and made for DVD films. It also includes work from Pixar and Dreamworks.

I don't know if there's any rhyme or reason for the particular captures. It doesn't appear that they were selected by an animator. For all I know, the captures were done by an automated process. In any case, if you're looking for a handy visual reference from any of the films they've covered, it may be quicker than hauling out the DVD.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

More Blue Sky folks

Thank so much for all of the well-wishes!
I've been spending some rest time w/ friends & family up here in Seattle before I head down to LA in Nov.  In the meantime & in between time, I had the chance to do a few more drawings of some good friends back at Blue Sky!

Here are some of the roughs

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Walt's People Volume 11

You would think that by volume 11 of Walt's People, a series of books composed of interviews with people who worked with and for Walt Disney, that editor Didier Ghez would be down to interviewing the grandson of the janitor who emptied the wastebasket of Milt Kahl's inbetweener. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Editor Ghez continues to come up with interviews of historical importance filled with fascinating anecdotes and production details.

The contents of volume 11 are:

Foreword: John Canemaker
Didier Ghez: Ruthie Tompson
Christopher Finch & Linda Rosenkrantz: Walt Pfeiffer
John Culhane: Shirley Temple
John Culhane: I. Klein
Peter Hansen: Basil Reynolds
Christopher Finch & Linda Rosenkrantz: Eric Larson
John Culhane: John Hubley
Robin Allan: Jules Engel
Darrell Van Citters: Ed Love
Darrell Van Citters: Mike Lah
JB Kaufman: Frank Thomas
Dave Smith: Carl Nater
John Culhane: John Hench
John Canemaker: Ward Kimball
Dave Smith: Ward Kimball
Didier Ghez: Frank Armitage
Robin Allan: Ray Aragon
Didier Ghez: Ray Aragon
Gord Wilson: Jacques Rupp
David Tietyen: George Bruns
John Canemaker: Dale Oliver
John Canemaker: Iwao Takamoto
John Canemaker: Richard Williams
Charles Solomon: Brad Bird
Alberto Becattini: Don R. Christensen
Jim Korkis: Tom Nabbe
Dave Smith: Roger Broggie
Didier Ghez: David Snyder
Didier Ghez: Carl Bongirno
John Culhane: Daniel MacManus
John Culhane: Ted Kierscey
John Canemaker: Glen Keane
Didier Ghez: Joe Hale
Jérémie Noyer: Mark Henn
Christian Ziebarth: Andreas Deja and Mark Henn
Didier Ghez: Ed Catmull

This is yet another book I've got to add to my overburdened shelf. Copies can be ordered from Xlibris for those living in the U.S. and from Amazon for those living in the U.S. and elsewhere.

Guess Whose Eyes

Go here, for an interactive version of the above. And go here if you want a print.

(Link via Boing Boing)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Squash and Stretch (Part 1)

Here's a great little post on squash and stretch. Head on over to Temple of the Seven Golden Camels and check it out. There are tons of great posts that you can spend countless hours on...this is just one.


Monday, October 10, 2011

Warner Bros. Animated Coming Attractions

In addition to voicing the Loony Tunes characters for animated cartoons, Mel Blanc also voiced them on records for children. Warner Bros. has now created new cgi animation to go with one of those records.

I previously mentioned Sam Register's address to Mipcom Jr, a TV market in Europe. Above is the video of that address and at 27:03, you can see a clip of the Daffy Duck animation done to the Mel Blanc record. You can also see a clip of Thundercats at 19:33 and the cgi Green Lantern at 23:39.

Disney Live Action Reference

Someone known as lostvocals4 has taken live action footage from Operation Wonderland, a live action promotional piece that Disney made for Alice in Wonderland, and synched it up with the finished film.

Disney was shooting live action reference footage at least as early as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. That procedure continued in the 1950s, especially because the budgets were tighter and the films had to be made more efficiently. Ed Wynn was filmed as the Mad Hatter and Jerry Colonna was filmed as the March Hare, with Kathryn Beaumont as Alice. What's interesting is that the audio from the reference footage was used as the final audio in the film.

The artists on screen, in order of their first appearance, are Les Clark, Fred Moore (at left) with John Lounsbery, and Ward Kimball.

If you want to see the entire Operation in Wonderland, which contains additional live action reference for the Walrus's dance and the march of the playing cards, you can see it here and here. Look for Walt Disney manning the animation camera. I doubt that he did that much after the 1920s.

(Link via Drawn.)

The Rauch Brothers Interviewed

Left to right: Mike and Tim Rauch.
"The key is to try and be as honest and true to the story as possible."
- Mike Rauch
I admire the work of the Rauch brothers enormously as their work, based on documentary audio recordings done by Storycorps, is built on emotional truth. That's something too often lacking in modern animation.

The brothers are interviewed by Jeremy Helton, talking about their history, their influences and their process. There are also photo comparisons between real people and settings and the designs that the brothers have created from them.

You can see four video interviews with the brothers here and a selection of their work here.

Sunday, October 9, 2011