This video offers a look at the memorial celebration for New York animation legend Vincent Cafarelli that took place on Friday, January 6. There are glimpses of Vinny from old home movies interspersed between the memorial clips. The lovely event was attended by a who’s who of the New York animation community. See if you can spot Vinny Bell, Candy Kugel, Howard Beckerman, Don Poynter, Tony Eastman, J. J. Sedelmaier, Jimmy Picker, David Levy, John Canemaker, Doug Crane, Michael Sporn, Larry Ruppel, Richard O’Connor, George Griffin, Debra Solomon and John Dilworth, among many others.
Satori is another recent Sheridan thesis film that has popped up online. Along with yesterday’s A Good Wife, the film offers a glimpse of the new crop of animators emerging out of the Canadian school. The filmmaker Abhilasha Dewan was “inspired by the misty mountains of Nainital, India. She’s posted artwork from the film on her website.
2D special effects animators are a breed apart. Their work is extremely detail-oriented and demands an incredibly high level of craftsmanship, yet the animation they create is rarely the center of attention like the work of character animators. Last month when I was in LA, I visited with retired Disney FX animator John Emerson who showed me how he animated the wings on the hummingbird Flit in Pocahontas and the way he did it nearly made my brain explode. Let’s just say he’s really good at handling an airbrush and cutting friskets. If 2D FX sounds like your dream job, then you may want to look into a new weekly FX animation course run by Australian animator Adam Phillips.
Phillips used to be the special effects supervisor at Walt Disney Animation Australia, and has since achieved Internet fame as the creator of Bitey Castle and the successful Brackenwood shorts on Newgrounds. His online course covers all the principles: lightning, flames, ripples, wave motion, smoke, dust, steam, and surface tension, among others. He tells me that, “It’s aimed at complete FX beginners and is taught from a traditional perspective so there’s no particular medium or software angle.” The real attraction is that the program is just $24/month and includes weekly articles, demonstrations, examples, illustrations and videos. The program length is approximately three months and can be started anytime. Find out more at Bitey.com.
One of Cartoon Brew’s most popular archived posts is my October 19, 2010 commentary about the end of creator-driven animation. The post, which discussed a common topic within industry circles, took on an unexpected life of its own among younger readers and spawned the well-known “Brony” fandom, which is the celebration of the TV series My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic by male viewers. If you’ve ever wondered how my post led to Bronies, here’s Scott Spaziani explaining its history. My role in the movement pops up around the 6-minute mark. You’re welcome, guys.
The story of A Good Wife is fairly well summarized by its ironic title. What remains is a tribute to mid-century modern aesthetics and an eerie amount of stillness. W. Scott Forbes made the film while attending Sheridan College. The film doesn’t necessarily succeed in wringing out the emotions suggested by its sad story and musical cues, but Forbes’ approach is refreshing for a student film and a worthy experiment.
It’s rare to browse through someone’s on-line animation videos and enjoy everything they’ve produced. That’s the happy feeling I experienced watching the work of French animator Paul Cabon. In fact, it was too difficult to choose a single piece of his to share so I’ve included three more of his films after the jump. His work is packed with fresh visual concepts coupled with strong control of color and shape and a keen sense of humor. His animation of human figures moves in an almost experimental fashion, which is to say it doesn’t follow the rules of conventional character animation but fits perfectly with the rest of his style. Cabon graduated from the French animation school La PoudriÃ¨re a couple years back.
Welcome to the first 2012 installment of Cartoon Brew’s “Animated Fragments.” Covering the animation world used to be a lot easier five or ten years ago. Today there is a greater amount of animation being produced than ever before and more of that animation is being posted on-line. Likewise, our thinking is constantly evolving about how to cover this ever-expanding world of animation. We introduced Animated Fragments last year after realizing that a lot of the animation being posted on-line didn’t fit into the traditional categories that everybody uses (TV, feature, music video, short, etc.). On-line culture is built on openness and sharing, and emerging artists (as well as an increasing number of established animators) share just about everything they produce on-line: animation tests, experiments, small-scale commercial gigs, pilot projects, you name it. The Animated Fragments is our attempt to catalog and share these pieces with a wider audience, and to hopefully introduce you to more talented artists who choose animation as their medium of visual expression.
I do believe there is such a thing as over-art directing a piece of animation to the point where the message becomes buried within the polish of the artwork. Whether that’s the case with “A Year of Sun with Mr. Persol,” a glossy piece of advertising for Persol Eyewear directed by Kevin Dart and Stéphane CoÃ«del, is open to debate. What’s inarguable is that it’s an extremely competent piece brimming with sophisticated design and visual concepts throughout.
This 1961 episode of Tales of the Wizard of Oz harkens back to a time when animation writers didn’t speak down to kids. It’s a perfect example of children’s TV animation that works on multiple levels, encouraging kids to question their surroundings and understand the realities of the world while entertaining them at the same time.
Lipsmackers by Beercan Rd. is a 2011 thesis film produced at the School of Visual Arts by Sachio Cook. The film has a quirky tone, stylishly mixing the mundane real world with fantastical elements. Some of the storytelling lacks clarity, but the overall effect (as well as the artwork) is charming. According to her LinkedIn page, Sachio works at Titmouse as an assistant animator. I hope she continues making independent films, too.
Fifteen years in the making.
35,000 hand drawn, hand-painted cels.
Shot onto 35mm movie film on a rostrum camera.
This is Neil Boyle’s The Last Belle, a recently completed short that will be playing on the festival circuit in 2012. If the mind-bending subway shot in the trailer reminds you of Richard Williams’s The Thief and the Cobbler, that’s no accident. Boyle worked as an assistant animator to Williams and the layout artist on Boyle’s short, Roy Naisbitt, also laid out the wild perspective scenes in The Thief and the Cobbler. Boyle discussed the path he’s taken to making this short on his website:
“I came into the animation industry on Who Framed Roger Rabbit and at 20 years old I was one of the youngest there. I was lucky enough to learn from the Disney veteran Stan Green (who had been assistant to the legendary Milt Kahl on many classic Disney films) and I became assistant animator to Richard Williams who was (and remains) amazingly generous with his vast knowledge of animation lore and technique. I was in the middle of all this, the archetypal kid-sponge, sucking up all the information I could. And then one day I went to bed and woke up 40 years old. Or so it seems. Then I was surrounded by a new wave of 20 year olds who – unlike me at that age – were already masters of their craft: the digital age of animation. So I had (and have) a lot more learning to do. The Last Belle is the project I’ve used to bridge the gap between old and new. A chance not just to read about the ‘old ways’, but to try them all out for real, guided by veterans of the craft.The interesting next step is to combine the old with the new and see where it takes us…”
More info and a blog with fascinating making-of details can be found on TheLastBelle.com. Enjoy it while you can because this will surely be among the last hand-drawn, cel-painted films shot on 35mm.
I can think of a few places I’d rather vacation before going to Disney World’s Art of Animation resort, like Mogadishu, Kabul and those drug cartel-operated areas of Mexico where they sew the faces of murder victims onto soccer balls.
It’s a virtual guarantee that every time Philly-based Anthony Francisco Schepperd creates a piece of animation, it’s going to be more incredible than the time before. I don’t know how he keeps topping himself, but the guy is a one-man animation monster. He delivers again with stunning drawn animation on “Two Against One,” a music video he co-directed with Chris Milk for Danger Mouse and Daniele Luppi. He animated the entire thing in TVPaint with some After Effects thrown in, but let’s face it, software doesn’t make a damn difference in his case. It’s all skill, baby.
The DVD is a great self-contained lesson in filmmaking. It comes packed with a 16-minute documentary about the making of the film, the entire first rough cut which Canemaker narrated himself before John Turturro came on board, and two image galleries containing the storyboards and concept artwork. The rough cut in particular is revealing and shows how Canemaker expanded the dialogue and added to the ending, which both made the film more impactful. The storyboards in the image gallery are a wonderful addition, but I often found myself wanting to see the storyboards in greater detail since DVDs aren’t an ideal format for presenting still artwork. The DVD is available is on Amazon for $30.