Wednesday, February 28, 2007

It’s just plain funny


click image to watch clip on DailyMotion

Saw this Tex Avery clip posted yesterday at Kevin Langley’s Goober Sleave blog. I must have watched this 20 or 30 times yesterday and I laughed everytime. Man this is good. It’s such a simple idea but it’s done so well. The voice acting is great, the poses are hysterical. The animation isn’t over the top outrageous, but it possesses a deft touch and is very funny. Timing is impeccable. I think Tex’s timing is just genius. I just love the absurdity of it. Please Lord, let me do something this good and funny some day. Heh.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Nice interview with Oscar winning director Torill Kove

Torill Kove just won the Best Animated Short Film Oscar for her film The Danish Poet.

Animated Views has a nice interview with her. She seems so very down to earth and matter of fact about her animation and her outlook on it. I really admire her point of view. I very much liked her previously nominated film, My Grandmother Ironed the King’s Shirts, too. Her work has a very unassuming style- she’s just confident in who she is as a filmmaker and what her films are. There seems to be no hint of trying to impress anybody or silence any critics, just pure storytelling and charm. Congrats to Torill for her success and her wonderful films.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Boy, You Just Gotta Hand it to Disney Marketing

Rats run wild in KFC-Taco Bell in N.Y.

By VERENA DOBNIK, Associated Press Writer

NEW YORK - New Yorkers are used to seeing rats where they catch their trains — not where they buy their burritos. About a dozen rats were having a grand party Friday in a locked KFC/Taco Bell restaurant, scampering around the floor, playing with each other and sniffing for food as they dashed around tables and children’s high chairs.

Onlookers could not keep their eyes away from the jaw-dropping sight — a gang of urban vermin invading a restaurant that had been taking people’s chicken and taco orders just a day earlier. Video of the rats was seen around the world, disseminated on TV stations and the Internet…

full story

Coming soon to a theater near you… Ratatouille!!


The Annie Awards break into the Mainstream Press

Man Charged With Uploading Animated Film Flushed Away onto Internet

LOS ANGELES - A man who allegedly uploaded a copy of the film “Flushed Away” onto the Internet after getting a copy from an Oscar voter faces a felony charge.

Salvador Nunez Jr., 27, was charged with copyright infringement and faces up to three years in prison if convicted. He was scheduled to appear in court March 1.

Prosecutors said he obtained a copy of the movie after it was sent in advanced to his sister, an Oscar voter and member of The International Animated Film Society.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences received a tip in early January that someone put “Flushed Away” on the Internet, and a digital watermark identified it as an Academy screener film.

When interviewed by FBI agents, Nunez acknowledged he uploaded “Flushed Away” and the Oscar-nominated film “Happy Feet” onto the Internet, court documents said. However, investigators only found a copy of “Flushed Away” in his computer hard drive.

“Flushed Away,” won four prizes on Feb. 11 at the Annie Awards, honoring achievements in feature film and television animation.

It wasn’t immediately known whether Nunez has retained an attorney. His home phone number was not listed.

Oh well. You know what they say. There’s no such thing as bad publicity.

Victor’s F-Curve Tutorial

New to CG animation? Confused by function curves? Does the Colored Spaghetti Box intimidate you?

The talented, kindly and handsome Victor Navone has written a tutorial explaining how to see, understand and use those little threads of color in your CG scene. Part 1 is like a primer. He says it’ll be a 3 part series. Kinda like Lord of the Splines. Or Spline Wars. Anyhoo, check out part 1.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

And this…

American writer Charles McNulty waxes poetic about the plusses of British acting chops. A snippet..

But it’s not just glorious sound that sets British veterans apart. It’s their ability to wring complex meanings from a single line. They invite us not just into their characters’ minds but into their intricate thought processes as well. Still, it’s not a strictly realistic affair. These talents are drawn from a theatrical heritage that recognises drama as more than a slice of life. Too many US actors have become enslaved to a form of behavioural banality in which the highest value is placed on mimicking everyday life; at its worst fetishising the commonplace at the expense of the revelatory.

Let’s face it: realism for realism’s sake grows tedious. But don’t blame the Method, whose greatest practitioners, such as Marlon Brando, were master stylists, selecting and distilling their actions to endow an appearance of reality with interpretive understanding.

I’ll let you connect the dots.

(yes, I know… but I’m just sitting here waiting for this month’s VTS video to compress and reading my RSS feed. So sue me.)

Just read it

The Animation Guild’s Steve Hulett offers a spoonful of his wisdom toward the young and idealistic animation worker bee.

No further comment from me. Just read it.

Two things


If you like the Corel’s Painter program and wanted to have a copy for use at home or for your own personal projects, but you are kinda scared by the sticker price then you have got to check out Artweaver. It looks and feels a lot like Painter. It’s fast, light and stable and has a lot of the natural media tools and brushes of Painter.

Artweaver.jpg click to make bigger-ish. Excuse the doodle. I was just messin’ around.

And the price? Yeah, it’s kinda like FREE. As in you don’t need to pay for it but you can still use it kind of free. They have a PayPal donation button on their site. Definitely drop a few pennies in that tip jar, man.
And the installer download? Under 7mb. Gosh, who doesn’t like OpenSource software? Makes me glad I never spent the cash to upgrade my old copy of Painter. For what I do this is plenty strong enough.


I only regret that when I had my chance to work on Mickey Mouse that I wasn’t good enough to do anything even close to this excellent with him.

mickeyTreeChop.jpg click for a better look

Just look at that pose. I know we were stuck doing him in CG and we had all kinds of challenges with rigs and stuff, but that’s no excuse. When you’re not good enough you just need to own up to it. And I wasn’t good enough to make it sing. Not like this. If only I knew then what I know now. It makes me sigh for opportunities lost.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007



While it’s been fun having the mic for the last year or two, I need to take step back on this whole blogging thing. Posts will be significantly less frequent and the topics will tend to stick to the business of my VTS or APT programs. Occasionally I may put up a post showing some cool stuff I’ve found or that I’m doing. However right now I have some doors that I need to walk through and I need to put my focus in the right place until I reach the other side. So I leave the stage to other well versed and intelligent commentators on the state, nature and potential of this thing we all love called animation.

ps: And no, the recent idiocy among some troll commentators on the Bee Movie thread has absolutely nothing to do with this. I couldn’t care less about such silliness as it doesn’t affect me at all. :) Seriously, this is just a personal decision and the time is right for it now.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Now this looks like fun

Thousands aim to break snow angel record

BISMARCK, N.D. - Among the thousands of people frantically flapping in the snow Saturday in an attempt to set the record for the most snow angels ever made were parents, children, even snowplow drivers. And then there was Pauline Jaeger — who on her 99th birthday, was making her very first angel.
“It’s fun,” Jaeger said. “I feel just like a kid.”

Read the full story here.

I should be doing stuff like this instead of blabbing on about animation. Heh.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

To Bee CG or Not to Bee….

New trailer for DW’s Bee Movie…

bee.jpg click image to go to the trailer
Alright, at the risk of being a downer, was I the only person more entertained by the live action than the animation? And the first trailer (also live action) was really funny as well. But this…. I dunno why, but it felt like the fun just fell out the bottom of the piece once it went to animation. For an advert to an animated movie isn’t this supposed to be the other way around? Don’t get me wrong. I really, really, REALLY wanted this to make me smile. When I heard they had animation in this trailer I thought “Cool!”. After watching it I thought “Gee…”.
This was funny…


This was supposed to be funny.


Yeah, yeah, I know. Don’t judge a whole movie just by a trailer (but isn’t that what trailers are for?). And yes, of course I’m just bitter and I can’t hold the jock of the least animator/artist working on this film and if I’m so smart why don’t I just shut up and prove it by making something better, blah, blah. All valid counter points so please feel free to ignore me at your leisure. I’m just sayin’ — I really had hopes the animated part would make me smile.

Truth be told I’m digging the whole premise of Jerry trying to do a preposterous children’s bee movie in a costume. So far it’s been pretty funny and it has potential. Ironic.

Update: I’ve had to turn off comments for this thread. A few stupid fraudulent comments and some trolling have pretty much ruined the fun for everyone and I don’t have time to be playing games straightening out the idiocy. The troll comments came from the Dreamworks IP and the ReelFX IP addresses (I do have decent admin tools for this blog, you know). Nice work, boys. A real high water mark of professionalism. I’m sure your studio bosses would be proud.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Fun Animated Music Video- “Word of Mouth”

Thanks to friend of the blog Frank Ladner for the head’s up on this one. This music video was directed by Chris Oatley. His site has some other really nice cartoony stuff as well. He credits Pablo Smith with the animation. Pablo’s got some fun pencil tests in his link as well. Fun stuff.
You can tell this music vid was done on a budget but it’s still quite imaginative. I appreciate how it makes nice use of design and some really well crafted limited inbetweens to keep it feeling lively. Music’s kinda cool, too.

I know how it feels….

The talented Sean Hayden (who has a really nifty blog) is working on a personal short film project and he touches upon a problem I can really relate to.

It seems that he, like many creative types, has a kind of weariness for the actual implementation of the cool ideas he cooks up. In his latest post he shares how he keeps that spark alive while not de-railing the current project– Make something new! Just don’t do anything with it for now.

It’s a great way to keep yourself fresh. Creation and development of a thing is certainly more adrenaline & excitement laden than the drudgery of actually making it. And don’t be fooled- drudgery there is in the making and no shortage of it. Anyone who has made a short film or any artistic project that spans months or years knows what I’m talking about. You cannot avoid those grey days when the ideas are lame, the dialog is stupid, the jokes aren’t funny and the art is hackneyed and second rate. It usually takes stepping away and re-engaging your creative side to get back on track.

When I was younger I was a tad bit more militant about the doing of something. Success required focus, effort, discipline, etc. So I used to not allow myself to even start a new idea until I finished the old one first. After some time I realized that I was losing good ideas and hurting my execution of the current one. So if I had a new idea I allowed myself a short two or three day stint to get the initial thing down and store it away for later keeping. The flurry of thought and energy that came out in that brief hiatus was a great tonic for the production blues. It really seemed to scratch that itch and I was able to come back to my old project with my brain de-funked enough to see the old things more clearly and with fresh eyes.

There is another benefit to this “take a break and make something new” approach- perspective. Every idea seems cool and fantastic when you first think it up, but with the benefit of distance and time you get to see how it might not have been the coolest thing that you thought it was. This way if the idea was only a passing phase (like a bout of creative gas after a bean burrito) you only lost a few days on it- and hopefully still had fun with the idea even though nothing more will come of it. And for those ideas that are still fresh, exciting and funny a full 6 or 10 months after you initially recorded them, well those become your next project. Hopefully.
Anyhow, for some nifty stuff check out Mr. Hayden’s blog. His has like real art and stuff on it. Unlike this one. (to my great shame).

Monday, February 12, 2007

The Art of Joyfulness


I’m no art historian (not by any stretch) so it’s difficult for me to offer many insights into the underpinnings of fine art like Uncle Eddie can. However I can still try my hand at it. In that light I really enjoyed reading this Guardian article on the unapologetic pleasantness of Renoir’s paintings. The article begins…

We have no language in which to praise gentleness. A century of revolution since Pablo Picasso painted Les Demoiselles d’Avignon has made it almost impossible to say: “This art is pretty, unchallenging and middle-class, and I like it.” Well, I like the art of Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and it is all those things.

I’d love to be able to show you the dark side of Renoir’s art, but close as I look, I can’t find social criticism or anxiety in his canvases. Even when it rains, his Paris is a joyful place where people don’t so much cower under their umbrellas as flirt and chatter beneath a dancing cluster of bobbing blue canopies. His painting Les Parapluies (The Umbrellas) in London’s National Gallery may as well be called I Love Paris in the Rain.

While other ’serious’ artists of the time mocked and derided his work, I think there’s a lot to be said for trying to find a way to celebrate life through art. I’m sure I betray my unwashed bourgeois tastes when I admit that we had a few Renoir prints in our house in the States. I liked them. The pictures just added a lightness to whatever room they were in. I mean life is hard and dark enough already, why gloom it up at home? I’m sure if I had attended art school I’d have been informed about how low minded I would be to like Renoir. Thankfully I never attended art school. :) But I am reminded of this helpful little passage from The Good Book

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

A refreshing imperative in the age of post modern de-constructivism, no? This Guardian piece has come at a good time for me. I’m in the midst of some deeper self critique right now and I’ve come to realize that I’ve picked up a bit of a negative habit from ye olde’ family tree. Namely, I easily tend toward being a bit too critical in life. In time one wakes to find he sees a crumudgeon in the mirror. Crumudgeons make great cartoon characters, but they’re utterly sorry traveling companions on the road of life. Thus a new effort is under way to arrange my constitutional cupboard to be a bit brighter and a good deal less spider-webby. Our little animated corner of the world has enough rancor as it is. Who needs another big mouth being negative about it? I think that constructive critique is good and necessary and you can be sure I’ll not shy away from it. Yet the polarity of dialogue in animation is astounding. I’m thankful for the few reasoned voices out there and I quote them and their blogs here often. But critique is necessary to improve and refine. The key word is ‘constructive’. Critiques can be offered in a pleasant- even joyful way. In fact the critiqued individual is owed this level of respect. Moving forward I hope to be more pleasant, kind and joyful in my life — including my writings and my animation.

Speaking of which, I need to get crackin’ and post some new stuff I’ve been messing with. But I still have the CG Character controls thread to wrap up and I have a backlog of Ant Bully scenes that I have ripped that need to be plunked up on my gallery page. (not that they’re that great, but they’re at least newer than what’s already there.) I’m such a slacker. Heh.

If You’re Gonna Play Ball….

Then play ball to win. Just remember to play fair.

What in the world am I talking about? Well, I know this is last week’s news, but I’m only now getting around to getting my thoughts clear. On the Cartoon Brew (love the new look) last week Amid called out Cuppa Coffee studio for their online animation contest and he wasn’t exactly delicate about his disapproval, either. Cuppa responded and it seems a bit of a spat was on. Now I don’t have a dog in this fight, but I do have some observations and maybe a word of caution to you younger folks out there.

The basic gist of Amid’s complaint was that Cuppa-Coffee was being — shall we say exploitative – of less experienced animators’ ignorance of the current mechanisms of the TV animation development market. The rough idea of Cuppa’s contest is this: You submit your animation short film to their online contest. The winning animation ideas will be developed by Cuppa (”development” probably means they do some additional art and story idea work to get it ready for a network pitch) and they will pitch it to TV networks to try and get the show picked up. So far, seems reasonable, right? Well, there’s a little bit of a catch- you surrender all rights to your work forever. And you surrender them regardless if you win, regardless if your idea gets developed or anything ever comes of the contest. In the very act of submitting something to them you surrender your rights to it. The reason this is kinda dangerous for you is that the landscape of media distribution is changing. There’s more than just TV and good marketable ideas are at a premium. If in 10 years your idea is the perfect idea for an internet show then Cuppa Coffee owns your idea and you don’t. Or if Cuppa Coffee wants to use your character as their new mascot, then you don’t have any say over that. Or if they have some down time, take your cool looking character, make an Oscar winning short film with it that then gets them a lucrative feature film deal with the Weinsteins doing something totally unrelated to your idea (but your idea won them the deal), you can be sure you have absolutely no claim on that. Or if they like your character and they decide to roll that character into another idea and create an amalgam of the two to make something new and that takes off as a new animated ringtone downloaded by tens of millions of iPhone owners, then you own jack diddly squat of that as well.

I think you get the picture.

Of course they say it’s implied that you’ll be included in some kind of remuneration negotiation should the network option your idea from Cuppa, which sounds all fair and reasonable. But in the game of business-ball all such implications are just of cotton candy wishes and rainbow dreams if it’s not written down and agreed to. The artist should try to retain rights with an understanding that if it gets optioned you can negotiate the rights at the proper time. Of course if that happens then the poor little artist would actually have some negotiating leverage and that’s not a winning business-ball play for the contest sponsor. Nope, better to sew up the rights before anything gets out of hand. It’s a pretty simple hardball business move. Nothing illegal. Maybe not even immoral- though I have my doubts. So why do I bring it up if I don’t want to get involved in some other fella’s fight (and I don’t)? I see that my job is to let you the artist know this one thing- the reality is that you as a creator just don’t need to surrender your leverage like that.

I’m not gonna pretend to be all indignant about what Cuppa Coffee is doing. They’re just playing business-ball (though it appears by their response they don’t want us to think they are. It’s probably not the best idea to play the offended party on this one, fellas). It’s not that Cuppa Coffee was being dishonest. They put it right out there in their disclaimers- you surrender all rights to the work hereafter forever and ever amen. It’s there in black and white and it’s not even written in hard to understand legal-ese. So they’re not hiding anything and they weren’t trying to trick anybody. But this whole notion of trading exposure for the inexperienced artist while corporate benefactors enjoy the fruits of those labors- well, it’s as old as the hills. And it’s not exactly the most genteel of arrangements. It’s a pretty standard hardball business move. It’s an effort to expand the studio’s “idea potential” for very little investment. Call it reducing the cost of acquiring the raw materials of doing business. Heh. They’re doing this by getting a volunteer crew to give away their ideas in exchange for an opportunity. Of course they kinda forget to mention that it’s an opportunity which the animators already have in a highly liquid market, they just aren’t aware of it yet. But hey, you’re playing business-ball. It’s not your job to make sure everybody knows what their rights and opportunities are. If they can’t keep up, you score and take the lead. And harvesting ideas is the true gold in the development biz. The rest is window dressing. This contest isn’t illegal. It’s not uncommon. It is not without precedent. If it weren’t for the rights grab it wouldn’t even be worth mentioning. But that rights grab is a pretty calculated corporate kind of move. Which is fine if that’s how you wanna roll. Most big companies make no bones about it- they’re playing hard ball and they are playing to win. Adjust accordingly.

Listen, you only have one thing to your work- you own it. Whether it makes you a dime or not, you own it. Even if you can’t monetize the actual work itself, your ownership allows you to leverage the work to promote something you can monetize. Rights are THE value in this game. Rights are not something you should give away without negotiation or compensation. Ever. Period. Really. The guys at JibJab have turned down opportunities to do projects that were worth tens of thousands of dollars simply because they have one rule for their studio- they absolutely retain all rights and ownership of the work. Period. They did this even when they were unknown nobodies. They did this even when those tens of thousands of dollars would have come in real handy. But there it is: The JibJab Law #1- Keep Your Rights. Why did they develop this rule? Well, one of the founding brothers is an MBA business school grad. Hmm. Do you think there’s something to this idea of rights retainment that maybe us artsy types aren’t understanding?

I’ve had the unique blessing of licensing the use of two of my creations to a media company. I licensed the use of my short film Lunch to Big Idea for them to put on a DVD home video. And for our children’s book property Gruntly & Iggy’s The Great Cheese Squeeze , Bryan Ballinger and I licensed that to Big Idea as well. With Lunch is was a simple, non exclusive right to use the film in exchange for a flat fee. They were a big company- having revenues that were in the $40-50million per year neighborhood, but somehow I managed to maintain all rights and ownership to my work. And trust me, they weren’t doing me any favors just because I worked there, either. But it was simple to see how the field was laid out. They had a need for suitable, quality content in a hurry. I had the content already finished and ready to use. The deal was plain- they could use it, but I still own it and they gave me X amount of dollars in exchange. Would they have liked to have gotten it for free? Sure, who wouldn’t? But in business-ball (as in life) you don’t always get what you want. For my part I was happy with the deal. For their part I think so were they (the DVD went on to sell about half a million units, so it couldn’t have been all bad.)

With the G&I book Bryan and I did sign over rights because the publisher (Zondervan) insisted that Big Idea own all copyrights. So in order to get the book published we signed over the copyrights. But that was part of the negotiation- not just a blind offering for free. In exchange we received additional value back on the money end to recompense our signing over the rights. And we didn’t just sign away the rights in perpetuity with no conditions attached. Bryan had a smart idea to negotiate the contract so that it had provisions to allow that the rights could come back to us should the company and publisher leave the property un-utilized for any period of 12 consecutive months. And in fact when Big Idea Productions filed bankruptcy it was decided by their new owners that they weren’t interested doing anything further with the property. So we employed the services of a lawyer and exercised our right in the original contract to reclaim ownership of the property. I am happy to say that today we own all rights to the property again. It was a solid seller in the children’s market and the property is pretty strong with lots of potential. We’re not doing anything with it- yet. But who knows what life will bring? Opportunities come along unannounced and luck favors the prepared, dahling. And if you don’t own your work, your quiver is empty when the targets come into view. Again, we were just two artists and we somehow managed to make provisions so that we retained opportunities to do something with our work. This is because we understood one thing- in the game of media business-ball ownership rights have real value.

All this to say, don’t ever, ever, ever give away rights to your work blindly, without condition and without real value in return. Rights have great value. The other player in the ballgame knows this. That’s why they want you to give it to them for free. Now you know, too.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

North Korean animation

Well, this was an interesting find in ye olde’ feedreader this evening…

Seems when they’re not busy making nukes and being a general menace in Asia the fellas up in NoKo bang out their own animated TV shows for the kiddos to watch. Guess they gotta do something while they slowly starve in their bunker society. Thing is, on a TV level this stuff isn’t half bad. Oh it’s not good, no. But it’s not horrible like I expected, either. I’ve seen worse on US air/cable-waves, that’s for sure. Of course the stories might be a tad, um… “different”. To quote the story…

It ain’t exactly Warner Bros.—the cartoons are designed to “implant into the minds of children warm patriotism and towering hatred for the enemy,” according to official news agency KCNA.

All I gotta say is if you’re gonna have hatred for your enemies, make sure it’s not some half hearted wimpy hatred, but a towering hatred.

Check the full report from the Foreign Policy Passport blog. What? You mean you guys don’t read the FP? *tsk tsk*

The Altar of What I Like

I wonder what it is about animation that brings out the exclusivist in so many people? We all have our preferences true enough, but for some a preference isn’t enough. Rather something in them causes their preferences to rise to the lofty, holy position of The Only Right Best Way for animation. Anything that doesn’t fall in line with the preference is dismissed as “bad” or “crap”. It’s almost like animation for some has taken on a kind of religious fervor and in their fundamentalist zeal a sort of cartoon legalism sets in. It’s a very odd phenomena to behold, that’s for sure. I mean, really. It’s animation, not the cure for world hunger.I really have only two dislikes in animation. One is pointlessly offensive or prurient content that really doesn’t have anything positive to say about the world (or so overpowers the positive as to nullify its impact) and second would be dominant style hegemonies. The minute something becomes regularly declared as “the best” according to conventional wisdom is when you find me starting to look for a way off the ride. I guess I’m just enough of a contrarian to want to go the opposite direction from the crowd. That’s not saying that I have some higher degree of artistic integrity, either. I’m not motivated by a need to be in some exclusive club where the unwashed masses can’t possibly mingle for their lack of refined taste. I’m as unwashed as they come and my tastes are about as refined as a grilled Velveeta sandwich. I just always like rooting for the Davids in the battles of life rather than the Goliaths. Either that or it just means I don’t like crowds. Heh.

One thing that I find exciting about animation is the wide variety and texture of it. No doubt I have my preferences as well, but far be it from me to say that my way is The Only Right Best Way. We have deep seated rivalries that hold to all manner of fundamentalist ideas about TORBW to animate. Each style, culture or choice has it’s legion of worshipers and followers. European, Western, Japanese animation. Old TV, new TV, shorts, features, experimental, Disney, Pixar, Dreamworks, Blue Sky, Aardman, Clampett, Jones, Avery, Hubley, UPA, MGM, Warner Brothers, Spumco. In many, many instances (some more than others) they each have been propped up like graven images of The Only Right Best Way to animate by somebody, somewhere. And heaven help you if you disagree.

And as if we don’t have enough verbal jihads over directors, cultural influences or studios, we have the whizzing matches over different forms of media. Hand drawn, CG, stop-motion, paper cut-out, oil on glass, mixed media- it’s just a wealth of textures, ideas, influences and expressions. They all have so many different things to find interesting in them. And naturally each one of us likes one or the other more than the rest. But to say that what we prefer is the absolute best animation ever is kinda silly. It’s like trying to decide what the best kind of food is in the world. It’s impossible, so don’t even try. Just enjoy them all and those that you don’t like, well… don’t eat ‘em.

The oddest thing is that this tendency to hold these polarizing views about animation seem to grow more insistent the longer one has been in the biz. Some of the most entrenched animation fundamentalists I know of are top level people, giants in the biz, really. Something happened along the way and the preference became something much more. The rules were carved in stone, the worship order set, the catechisms established and certain Hell awaits those heretics who do not bow down before The Only Right Best Way to animate.

I really can’t go along with any of it. I see no point in serving up animation Kool-Aid –of any flavor.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Thank you, Aardman!


Thank you for reminding me how fun animation can be.

Thank you for sticking to your charming, low-tech roots.

Thank you for not getting caught up in the latest dollar chasing craze.

Thank you for reminding me that “story” isn’t necessarily the most important thing in animation.

Thank you for your unapologetic avoidance of the snarky and cynical.

Thank you for the smile which grows across my face while I watch your animation.

Thank you for inspiring me to move forward in my own work simply by going back.

I happily lost almost an hour today watching these spots.

You can just tell– these guys were having an absolute blast when they made these spots.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Tell me this wouldn’t make a GREAT cartoon?

Psycho Space Chicks!!!

Space, spaceships, a dashing captain, girls, jealous catfights, kidnappings, wigs, weapons, pepper spray. Tell me you wouldn’t watch this. Somebody needs to get on this pronto! Heh.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Dig the Beat, Yo

I’m not sure how much the cool PuppetVision blog gets read in the animation world, specifically with CG guys, but I figure I’ll help with the cross pollination.
As for this clip, it’s a nifty little piece about how to make a funky smooth beat. Made by a group in Australia. Me likey.

I picked up the trail on this clip from the very friendly and fresh PuppetVision blog. I like PuppetVision because he seems to have a good bead on what’s happening in the puppetry world. One of my favorite shows in my teen years was The Muppet Show. Yes, I was that pathetic as a teen. But I just loved that show- never missed an episode. So puppetry has long been something I have a great appreciation for. Animation and puppetry are like kissing cousins. On the Ant Bully I had the great privilege of working with former Muppeteer and all around super fun human being Karen Prell. The life she could bring to anything in her hands was nothing short of magical. To watch her perform with a puppet for little kids was mesmerizing. She disappears and you find yourself relating to this flop of cloth on her arm as a real living breathing being, just like the 4 year olds in front of you. I’m thankful that over a decade ago Pixar took a flyer and hired her and trained her how to animate. She animates her characters with a great sense of fun as well. I know I always enjoyed going to dailies when Karen had a scene in the same sequence as mine. She’s just one of many folks from the DNA crew that I miss being around.