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Sunday, December 30, 2007

links: a pixar trio

The Pixar blog
The upcoming at Pixar blog

and a piece in Variety about Brad Bird

"The whole question of writing for animation is skewed" says Bird, whose next project will be his live-action debut. "There isn't a giant difference between animation and live action. You need characters, stories, themes. It's called good storytelling."

Which is why this man will always continue to be a great inspiration.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

personal update

The New Year is fast approaching and I'm continuing to work on new promotional material.
The business cards have been slightly modified and are now printed, sitting in a teetering blue stack next to me.
I'm really liking how the new print book is shaping up. When I get the finalized version of one of the prints I'll start assembling a final version for print.

Starting to assemble ideas for a few new pieces... I'll give a heads up
when they start coming together.

Until then, Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

link: for the holidays, a documentary

You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch

pencil tests, interviews, chuck jones pushing the graphite

a little fluff around the edges, but a good piece overall

Friday, December 14, 2007

link: 'Duelity' (Vancouver film school)

According to the records of the General Organization of Development labs (GOD) it took a mere six days to manufacture a fully-operational universe, complete with day, night, flora and fauna, and installing Adam as its manager to oversee daily functions on Earth.

That's one story.

If thou shalt believe the Book of Darwin, t'is five billion years after The Big Bang that we behold what the cosmos hath begat: the magma, the terra firm, the creeping beasts, and mankind, whose dolorous and chaotic evolution begat the gift of consciousness.

Duelity is a split-screen animation that tells both sides of Earth's origins in a dizzying and provocative journey through the history and language that marks human thought.


Thursday, December 13, 2007

link: starship modeler 'wrecks' competition

You see, every once in a while there comes along a piece that reminds me of the beauty in the (nearly) lost art of model building. Not digital models, but kit bashed, scratch-built beauties that have all the richness and depth of old Disney hand-painted backgrounds.

There was a transitional period in the 80's and 90's where the advent of cheap computer graphics pushed out the guild of model builders and replaced it with smooth florescent-colored cg stand ins that had all the beauty of a gum ball machine toy.

I appreciate economy of form, and the retro-modern look is definitely sleek and elegant, but these spoke of disinterest and half-filled shapes.

These models definitely hark back to a better time.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

link: Jim Hill Media (industry discussions/news)

Again, another site I've only begun to peruse, but looks to be interesting.

The main link is here.

And the initial article, discussing some visual in-jokes in Pixar films,
can be found here.

Monday, December 10, 2007

personal update

I've had some down time recently and I've taken the opportunity to do some spring cleaning. Yes, some might argue that it's nearly winter, but it's never a bad time to get things organized.

I've bumped up my work system and added a 500 gb backup to keep track of the myriads of versions I'm so fond of creating. I'm also looking forward to the breathing room of 3 times as much memory ... ah epic vistas.

I'm also re-working my small print portfolio to include the freelance work I've done since graduation. Once the post work on the Rube Goldberg comp is completed I should be able to print them out fairly quickly.

Also, keep on the look out for V2.0 coming early in 2008 (hopefully).

Beyond that, catching my breathing and definitely some sleep.

link: 'Cartoon Modern' (blog), 'Cartoon Brew' (blog)

While it may be a promotional blog for the coffee table book of the same name, it really has some deep history into the art of animation.

I've only scratched the surface, but you can check out the Cartoon Modern site here.

Another interesting site: 'Cartoon Brew' maintained by Jerry Beck and Amid Amidi.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

WIP : spa - sun test

Another old favorite tested with the new Maya physical sun/portal light combination.
It really does amp up the brightness without the addition of more photons (and lights) in the scene.
One thing I need to start tweaking is the camera node and color temperature of the sunlight; everything is still too washed out.

WIP : le phare (2) - sun test

I'm in the process of revisiting some old scenes and applying the new portal light/physical sun feature available in Maya 2008.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

link: some stop motion sites

I've always been fascinated with the process of translating thought to image. And ever since I was a small boy I loved starting with an idea and laying it out as a story. Writing was wonderful, I always loved the sound and texture of words; guiding the reader - as well as myself - through the landscapes of the story. But as the many ruined toys reduced to rubble can attest, I was definitely a hands-on sort of kid. And nothing was better at enabling that than art or animation.
When I was in Mrs. Kubrick's class in junior high we got to play with an old 8mm camera and pieces of construction paper. My first animated piece! Who knows what became of it, but I remember it involved aliens attacking the earth.

And I grew up breathing in the styles of Ray Harryhausen and George Pal and Rankin-Bass. There was an immense richness to their world. An insane attention to detail that swam against the current of mass-produced animation of the 70s and 80s.

So, when I saw a collection of links on MetaFilter I thought I'd put up a post.

Stop motion (or frame-by-frame) animation is a general term for an animation technique which makes a physically manipulated object appear to move. The object is moved by very small amounts between individually photographed frames, creating the illusion of movement when the series of frames is played as a continuous sequence. ( ref: wiki )

A few general types of stop motion:

Puppetoon ::
Puppetoon animation is a type of replacement animation, which is itself a type of stop-motion animation. In traditional stop-motion, the puppets are made with movable parts which are repositioned between frames to create the illusion of motion when the frames are played in rapid sequence. In puppetoon animation the puppets are rigid; each is typically used in a single , frame and then "replaced" with a separate, near-duplicate puppet for the next frame. Thus puppetoon animation requires many separate figures. It is thus more analogous in a certain sense to cel animation than is traditional stop-motion: the characters are created from scratch for each frame (though in cel animation the creation process is simpler since the characters are drawn and painted, not sculpted). ( ref : wiki )

Animagic ::
A figurine-style stop-motion technique similar to puppetoons and primarily used by
Rankin-Bass ( wiki , Rudolph)

Claymation ::
While often employing some measure of replacement modeling techniques, this style is mainly characterizes by objects which are themselves deformable. ( wiki , Aardman Animation site, Aardman Animation wiki )

General links:
Brothers Quay ( wiki )
Nick Hilligoss
Mike Bent, aka DarkStrider
Stop Motion Works
Stop Motion/puppetry swicki
Metafilter stop-motion link page