seductiveespionage seductiveespionage

TONIGHT IN LA: “Seductive Espionage: The World of Yuki 7”

Seductive Espionage

Gallery Nucleus in Alhambra is quickly becoming the the hub in LA for awesome animation and illustration-related art shows and programs. If you haven’t already noticed their ad on the right side of the Brew for tonight’s show, take note. From 7-11pm tonight, they’re hosting the opening for Kevin Dart‘s art book project “Seductive Espionage: The World of Yuki 7,” in which Dart concocted an imaginary Sixties female super-spy and developed an entire history around her film career. In addition to Dart’s artwork, the book project includes contributions from other artists, many of whom work in animation: Bill Presing, Bob Logan, Bobby Pontillas, Brigette Barrager, Brittany Lee, Chris Turnham, Clio Chiang, Daniel Arriaga, Don Shank, Elizabeth Ito, Horia Dociu, Joey Chou, Jon Klassen, Josh Parpan, Justin Parpan, Megan Brain, Scott Morse, Sean Szeles, Stephane Coedel, Ted Mathot, and Victoria Ying. Full details about tonight’s event on the Gallery Nucleus website. If you can’t pick up the book at Gallery Nucleus tonight, it can also be ordered from the Fleet Street Scandal website.

Here is a trailer for the project, directed by Stephane Coedel and Kevin Dart:

  • WHOA! Awesome colors and 60’s vibe. Lookin really cool, gang!

  • While I applauded the design and dry brush look of the piece, I am pretty tired of the hinged cut out movement of today’s digital animation.

    I would have loved to have seen this done with the traditionally drawn aesthetic that at least tried at a three dimensional character moving in perspective.

    UPA was very good at highly stylized designs moving with believable organic motions that has some grounding in nature and physics.

  • The faux green screen in the driving scene is fantastic!

  • I saw this through Kevin Dart’s Facebook account, and I was damn impressed! I’d love to see more stuff like this. His YUKI 7 stuff blows my mind, just like the rest of his work!

  • Esperanza

    Agree with Joel.

    Love the design and aesthetic. The ‘animation’ cheapens it

  • Oluseyi

    I think the book and concept are excellent, but I agree with Joel Brinkerhoff re the animation: I, too, would have preferred to actually have the frames drawn – and I wouldn’t mind if it was Flash, I just didn’t want hinged cut-outs.

    Oh, well. The faux green screen and other visual effects ARE awesome.

  • cute animation, delicious appeal!

    reminds me of Tadahiro Uesugi, who i’d LOVE to see animated!

  • Consider me there.

  • james

    Design is fantastic, and I DO like the animation because its reminiscent of “Supermarionation” only in 2d. Which to me enhances the 60s james bond vibe that I think kevin dart is going for.

  • I didn’t mind the cut-out style at all. (I’m used to that sort of thing.) You have to admit, this is one of those animated projects that does it so well! (Another example being Megan Brain.) It is still very beautifully done.

  • maizekid

    went to the show tonight and it was wonderful… Kevin’s pieces, as well as all the other artists who had pieces in the show, were amazing and great to see nice and big… plus.. YUKI 7 tshirts!!! Hell yeah!

  • Well, I think the animation could be improved … but the style ist top-notch.

    By coincidence I saw the nicely animated title sequence of “Tomcats” (2001) last night, and there the female character suffered from the very same bad walk, especially in close-up. Come on, guys! Women on High Heels. You can do much better than just move them like a paralyzed barbie doll.

  • stew

    Lovely work and great fun, makes me wanna see the movie.
    And to the whiners, this would absolutely suck as full hand-drawn animation.

  • C. Edwards,

    That faux “green screen” background effect in the driving scene is actually emulating an old technique called “rear projection,” which was quite common in car-driving scenes and other scene techniques in vintage films.

  • I love the look of this… the Art direction.

    AT first:

    I do agree that the animation of the characters, being very cut out and limited in the movement does hurt the appeal.

    Imagine if the performance was much fuller in movement, and with the look of the style, it would be beautiful.

    I understand the ‘look’ that they are going for, the style of their movements. But for me, it does lose my interest after so long.


    BUT…. I have learned to wait until I actually see the piece WITH the story being told, the dialogue and the editing, the direction.
    That can change everything. Look at southpark for an example.

  • It should also be pointed out that this is a trailer for a book about a series of fictional 60s spy movies, not a trailer for an actual film.

    It is the work of two (very talented) people, rendered for fun, in their spare time, over a very short production period. Given those restraints I think it a very accomplished piece.

  • It looks great in stills – but the characters are just a bit too rigged. A little bit of hand-drawn here and there would have lifted it. Also excellent music which was only slightly ruined by the sound of those stock gunshots (not to mention their lack of appropriate outdoor reverberation.) An interesting project, but like pudleiner said I’m not sure if the animation would hold my attention for the full running time.

    Also @ Stew: why? What’s your reasoning?

  • Joel Brinkerhoff

    Whoa, look at all the comments. I think Will Kane brings up an excellent point, this is a trailer done for a book and not a film. I also agree with Kyle that a little hand-drawn here and there, (like the dress falling), would have eased some of the rigidness.

    The book and the animation hopefully will be judged on their own merits.

  • Doofus

    I’d love to see a feature film made this way. Period.

  • stew

    The implication of what the whiners say here every time a great Flash or AfterEffects piece is showcased (not just this one) is that full hand-drawn animation is superior to limited animation and limited animation could always be “improved” if only “you added a few hand-drawn frames here and there” or better still just re-do the whole thing as hand-drawn.
    I find the attitude deeply patronizing if not deeply boring and they should take the blinkers off once in a while and stop nitpicking at brilliant work where it is not warranted just because it ain’t drawn frame by frame.
    The piece is perfect as it is, it succeeds on it’s own terms brilliantly. It’s not setting out to be like full hand-drawn animation, why should it? It is what it is. A charming, fun and fluffy piece of art to enjoy for a couple of minutes and forget about.

  • Awesome book, awesome promo. Period. Great job, Kevin!

  • Kevin,
    you should have your friend animate the characters more fluidly… then to match that, you should re-draw and shade the characters more realistically to fit… once you do that, you would probably decide it’d be even MORE realistic to model out the characters in 3D and use some high tech sub surface scattering skin shaders… now at this point, you’d be a fool not to go ahead an just use motion capture to match the absolute realism of your normal mapped characters.

    Keep working and re-post your piece as soon as you’ve got it looking like somewhere in between the PS3 game “Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune” and that “Polar Express” movie …give me a call if you need help with the anisotropic hair shader.

    I hate fun,


  • @ Stew: It’s not just a knee jerk reaction to something not being a meticulously drawn frame-by-frame animation. It’s that rigged characters such as these, while economical, suffer from stiff movements, a lack of depth and limited range of movements. These limitations make it tricky to do the most important thing in animation: create an illusion of life. That said, it certainly can be done – but it isn’t attained here. The characters are moving, but there’s no sense that the characters are feeling fear or excitement or anything. I myself am working a project that for the reason of time constraints is using rigged characters. But to make the characters come alive I’m drawing the facial expressions and adding in drawings where the rig can’t be made to go. You can tell the difference when something is taking on a life of its own or if it just seems to just be following the path of the keyframes.

  • stew

    “stiff movements, a lack of depth and limited range of movements”

    err… it’s a limited animation piece, what exactly were you expecting?
    Did it ever enter your mind that maybe the animator isn’t particularly interested realistic movement? You’ll find that alot of animators aren’t. Realistic movement may be the be-all-and-end-all for “certain” animators, but it can be pretty boring to watch as well.

    I get a sense of energy and pace watching this, and that comes primarily from the simple, naieve, even childish-looking movements. If everything was drawn frame by frame it would totally deaden it.

    The only problem seems to be your rather blinkered view of what animation is, not with what the film-maker has actually produced. You’re dissing an apple because it doesn’t taste like an orange.
    If you think you can do any better stop slagging other people’s creativity and have a go yourself. I’m sure the results would be highly entertaining.

  • Ariel

    Wow! 2D Animation made to look good!(*for once) Brilliant!

    Love how you can see the actual drawn line. Reminds me of 101 Dalmatians a bit(*but flatter)

    Love how after effects can pull a flat movie out and make it have an depth with blurs and such.

    Nice work.

  • To all the negative comments on here, i agree with Stew, it is what it is, deal with it.

    To Kyle and Joel: don’t ever say you’d have “liked” to have seen someone elses film done in such and such way, because its not “your” film.

    Would you like me to comment on your work and say, “well.. its nice… good hard work…. buuuuut, it would have looked way better had you done it in a style i’m more familiar with”.

    I didn’t think so.

    Great job Kevin and friends. You’re very talented.