To teach himself Flash CS3, Russell made a fan video for the song “Water Curses” by Animal Collective. The result is a fun-to-watch piece of abstract animation. He writes in the video’s online description:
I started making this in an attempt to learn Flash CS3. There are two basic layers in this animation, a flash layer at 24fps, and a stop motion powdered charcoal layer at 12fps. They are mixed together in nifty ways with After Effects. I started to get a hang of things in the second half of the video, so, sorry if the first half isn’t as interesting.
There are more details about the making of the video posted on his blog Music to Video.
A local LA animation student who asks not to be named sends in this rumor that’s too juicy not to share:
Just a bit of info from one of our teachers here. Apparently Glen Keane was kicked off Rapunzel yesterday by Lasseter. Word around the campfire is that Lasseter didn’t like the latest reel.
7 years, man. 7 years Glen’s been working on this. The skinny is that the directors of Bolt will be taking over. No word about if Glen is still involved in any way.
Truth or fiction?
UPDATE: Floyd Norman confirms in the comments that this rumor is indeed true.
UPDATE #2: Ain’t It Cool News has published a follow-up story to our initial report. They reprint a letter from Ed Catmull that says that Glen has lessened his directing responsibilities to “attend to some non-life threatening health issues.” Co-director Dean Wellins has also removed himself from the project for unspecified reasons. They are being replaced by directors Nathan Greno and Byron Howard. Keane will stay aboard Rapunzel as a directing animator and exec producer.
Brew reader Graeme Edgeler points out an appealing Green Party animated spot created for elections in the UK earlier this year. Not only is the commercial inspired by Fifties animation design, it also seamlessly integrates animation and characters from two 1950s public domain industrial films: It’s Everybody’s Business and Stop Driving Us Crazy. It’d be cool to see more mashups between classic cartoons and new animation, just like how older songs are sampled and remixed by contemporary musicians.
The website Art of the Title has posted the 2D-animated Dream and End Credits sequences from Kung Fu Panda along with production notes from producer Hameed Shaukat. I know we’ve posted about this before on Cartoon Brew, but these new HD QuickTime files are higher quality than anything that has appeared online and merit a second look.
We posted about a London Telegraph article recently in which they reported that Muslim cleric Sheikh Muhammad Al-Munajid had declared that Mickey Mouse is “one of Satan’s soldiers” and must die. That cleric has now released a YouTube video in which he says that his words were translated inappropriately and that it would be silly to claim that a cartoon character should die. It’s clear in the original video, even with the misleading translation, that he’s not referring to cartoon mice, but people will hear what they want to hear. Now, if only the cleric would release a video explaining how he achieves those amazing CG backgrounds in his videos.
(Thanks, Sam, for pointing this out in the comments section)
Pixar story artist Adrian Molina created this after-hours animated piece to inform California voters about Proposition 8, a ballot initiative designed to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry.
This eye-catching computer-generated animation by Glenn Marshall was created in the open-source programming language Processing. Marshall writes that after creating the application, “I just let the program run till the end of the music, I felt reluctant to interfere too much by trying to sculpt an ending, and just let the code run its own natural course.” Glenn offers more details about the process on his blog.
While the movement in the piece above was not created frame-by-frame, the results on the screen are controlled by the artist who designs the application and sets the variables that determine the look of the piece. In most digital animation (CG, Flash), allowing a computer to generate movement is a rote affair that comes in the form of tweening or other types of automation which are designed to make the movement easier to create, not more interesting to watch. Generative animation, however, allows the computer to be a creative partner alongside the artist with resulting movement that would be impossible for either an artist or computer to create by itself.
Readers, feel free to share other interesting examples of generative animation that you’ve run across recently.
I’m not suggesting that either idea was copied from the other. After all, non-descript blobby creatures straight out of a Pictoplasma book and cavorting in a real-world environment is hardly anything new. Still I thought it might be interesting to show two different animated approaches to a similar problem.
I alluded in an earlier Brew story that Sylvain Chomet (The Triplets of Belleville) wasn’t happy with his short-lived directing stint on Universal’s upcoming Tales of Despereaux. He was fired from the project shortly after the film received a production greenlight. An article in this weekend’s NY Times includes a lot of nasty allegations from Chomet, including the assertion by him that the film’s producer Gary Ross (Seabiscuit) wanted to direct the film “but because he can’t draw, he had to use me in order to get the green light.” Chomet also says that after he was fired from the film, “these bodyguards, big nasty-looking guys in suits, showed up; they took everything out of the studio and nailed doors shut so we couldn’t have access to it.” But the article’s most colorful Chomet quote is this one:
“We’re making a film for kids, a film that has a moral, and behind it is such aggressive action about lawyers and legal things – there are no human relationships. I felt like a lemon; they got the juice out of me and threw me away.”
Based on everything I’ve read and heard about Chomet, he doesn’t necessarily sound like the most easy person to work for, but it’s difficult not to admire a director who stands up for what he believes in and demands that films be filtered through his personal point of view. Directors, like Chomet, who aren’t afraid to speak their minds and actually have something to say are a rare breed in animation, and if anything, we need more artists like him.
Cold Hard Flash has an interview with two of Superjail‘s co-creators Christy Karacas and Stephen Warbrick, as well as the show’s animation director Aaron Augenblick. Superjail premieres tonight on Adult Swim at 11:45 p, (ET/PT).
The Seward Street blog, run by a DreamWorks animator, notes that Chris Sanders is no longer directing Crood Awakening at DreamWorks and he’s working on another film at the studio. The animator writes:
Chris Sanders is now the director on the next film I’m working on, How to Train Your Dragon. Dean DeBlois is coming on as a writer as well. Have to admit, I always liked Lilo and Stitch, so this is pretty exciting.
The previously announced director of How to Train Your Dragon was Peter Hastings, a producer/writer on Animaniacs and director of The Country Bears live-action feature. Can somebody say improvement.
UPDATE: The original post was removed from his blog.
UPDATE #2: A representative from the law firm representing Chris Sanders sends in the following information: “Our firm represents Chris Sanders, and can confirm that he remains the director of CROOD. He will also be taking over HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON.”
A former Family Guy fan, Kyle Evans, has come to the conclusion that Seth MacFarlane is a “talentless writer” who “doesn’t have a clue about animation.” He’s written a lengthy blog post analyzing MacFarlane’s work from a critical perspective. What I found particularly insightful was the section in which Evans observes the clumsy animation in Seth’s shows, particularly in an episode of Seth McFarlane’s Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy titled “Super Mario Rescues the Princess”:
The animation of Family Guy, American Dad and Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy consists almost entirely of character’s mouths moving, with the occasional rigid pose-to-pose animation. This movement is banal and devoid of any true expression, with the same exact timing on every movement. Watching “Super Mario Rescues the Princess” with the sound-down would convey little more than a general sense of displeasure in the characters…I can only imagine how mind-numbingly dull it would be to work as an animator for Seth McFarlane, who continues to stifle any sort of imaginative character design or fluid, expressive movement. But to visualise my point, here is the video edited so that all but the moving parts of the cartoon are blacked out.
Animator David Essman posted this piece he animated on the Cartoon Brew Facebook group. The humorously animated film pokes fun at “liberal Democrats’ fantasies of how an Obama Administration would instantly change things for the better.” It was written and designed by political cartoonist Ted Rall.
Ever since the animated short Pika Pika by Takeshi Nagata and Kazue Monno, there’s been a slew of light-animation both in the advertising and indie film worlds. This one by Ryan Cashman takes the technique a step further by offering some fun character animation of a little green creature playing the piano.
A description of the process by Cashman:
Animated light paintings of a little piano player performing. Filmed at night with the lovely I-5 and San Diego skyline in the background. I would like to thank everyone for the fantastic feedback I have received lately. To answer a few questions, I wrote the music and recorded it first. The frames were photographed with a Canon Rebel using 20-30 second exposure time. I used a small green LED keychain light to draw each frame. Once all the positions were photographed they were strung together and synchronized to the music in After Effects.
If Lotte Reiniger made trip-hop music videos in the 21st century, they might look something like this striking mixed-media silhouette piece produced for the Hungarian group Beat Dis. All I know about its animator, Emil Goodman, is that Emil Goodmanhe’s a 24-year-old from Hungary. There’s more of his work on his YouTube page.
This excellent spot for the Royal Bank of Canada’s Blue Water Project is among those rare pieces of design-oriented animation in which an equal amount of thought is given to the movement of the artwork as to its production design. There’s only one cut in the entire commercial; the scenes flow smoothly into one another in a way that drives home the commercial’s subject matter–water. The spot is directed by Convert for The Ebeling Group and designed by Jon Klassen, who has posted his illustration designs for the commercial on his blog. Klassen also co-directed a fine student film at Sheridan a few years ago called An Eye For Annai.