Tuber’s Two Step by Chris Wedge

This is a 1985 student film directed by Chris Wedge, who, of course, went on to become the creative head of Blue Sky and direct Ice Age. To give it a bit of historical context, it falls between The Adventures of André and Wally B. and Luxo Jr. From the YouTube description: “Though visually sparse, the film marks a significant turning point in computer animation, both for eschewing the usual chrome-and-perfect-geometric-shapes of the era, and for extensively applying traditional animation techniques — follow-through, squash-and-stretch, etc.”

The video is part of the Vintage CG Channel on YouTube which is filled with rare examples of early computer animation. It’s still hard to wrap my head around just how far CGI has advanced in a few decades.

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  • ryan

    WOW. So Chris Wedge had a CG short out a year before Luxojr !??!

  • play blast

    Probably took a good month to render that thing!

  • Tim Hodge

    Yup! It’s nestled between Luxo & Wally B (1984).

    This is the same year PDI released “Chromosaurus”, the 40 second bit with Chroam T-Rexes.
    (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6NuKttKCOBM)

  • Tim Hodge

    Chrome, I mean.
    (Hate it when I mis-type)

  • http://kelseighn.blogspot.com/ Kelseigh

    Man, does that take me back. I saw this at Wormwood’s in Halifax way back when this stuff was new and groundbreaking, and it’s still fun to watch today. If only everything aged that well.

  • Saturnome

    Yeah! Love this one. Found VintageCG Channel a few months ago. It’s full of great experimental shorts, and … and there’s Polly Gone, the most WTFesque vintage 3D short I’ve ever seen.

  • Jay Sabicer

    Just reading the RSS headline put a big smile on my face. I’ve shown this little film to friends and they all start mimicking the bounce cycle, it’s that infectious! One of the many reasons I enjoy CGI – it does so much with the most basic of components.

  • http://robcatview.blogspot.com robcat2075

    That’s gotta have more keyframes in it than Wally B and Luxo Jr. put together.

  • George

    Wow, flashback! I haven’t seen that short since I was a kid. They used to play it on Nickelodeon between shows, along with a great many other shorts, much of them from Canada.

  • http://www.segaltoons.com/ Steve Segal

    Oh Yeah, that is a great early CG piece. Wedge is truly one of the pioneers. He worked at Magi Synthavision where the Tron light cycles were animated. They had a talking clown at the opening of their reel that he animated at least a year before Tuber. Magi also did the computer generated backgrounds for John Lasseter’s test piece of Where the Wild Things Are.

  • Val

    I remember that short! It must have played on one of the major children’s networks, because when I was that young, I certainly didn’t seek this stuff out like I do now.

    Still cute and happy.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    I remember those “International Rocketship” shorts George! They always felt like WTF on Nickelodeon since they pretty much used them as filler after a showing of Looney Tunes. Tuber’s Two Step was common among the shorts they used to play on there along with Nick Park’s “Creature Comforts”, Cordell Barker’s “The Cat Came Back” and whatever peaked their fancy, like the one with the chefs fighting over a frog they want to cook on St. Patrick’s Day.

    Going to Vintage CG is like being 6 years old and seeing all this funky stuff on TV, wishing you were there in the action making them! It was a big deal at a time when the thought of making a full-blown CGI feature was still far away from the minds of those besides a lingering notion. Also great seeing material I had never saw before either. It was interesting this film in particular was made in my home state, let alone from the guy who would make a name for himself with Ice Age.

  • Peter F

    Man, I remember seeing that short and geeking out over it in my freshman year at art school in 1985/86. I wanted to go to school for computer graphics but back then, there were few colleges with programs of study in it, and the ones that did had prohibitively steep (for me, anyway) math requirements.

    What’s refreshing to see in that short is computer graphics at a point when it was a tool to just play around with, one of a range of choices an artist could make — Wedge could have made that same short in stop motion, or in traditional cell animation, and it would have been just as fun and entertaining.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    I know how you feel Peter. You never realize how important mathematics is until you see what goes into these. Back then, CGI was still relatively a new thing, and as much as there was some experimentation in producing things like this, they were few and far between given the limited facilities provided. Using computers was still looked on for commercial/industrial applications then, and less of an artist tool we see today. Today there’s more resources and places for those to get into CGI animation than there was back then, but the content and critiques made towards it have changed very much from the days when anything coming out of universities and production houses was looked on in awe. It’s interesting to go back and watch these videos and trace the evolution of the medium as it progressed into the 90′s.

  • Tedzey

    I love how bubbly the characters are! He definitely made it feel like the older follies made in the 20s’!

  • http://www.frankpanucci.com FP

    The state of the art progressed from Chromosaurus to JURASSIC PARK in eight years? That’s amazing.

  • http://signorestudios.blogspot.com/ Christopher

    Now these are the kinda posts I like to see! Very bubbly, bouncy animation here – and again, a fine example just how advanced we are now with CGI in this day and age. Who would have thought Chris Wedge would have started out from this to playing a saber-toothed squirrel? :D

  • s.w.a.c.

    Hey Kelseigh, I saw this at Wormwood’s too way back when. I can’t remember if it was part of a collection of CG shorts (like those Mind’s Eye compilations) or just as a separate thing before a feature. Sometimes they’d show a cartoon off VHS before the films, as a nice little bonus.

    I also remember seeing this on The New Music (produced by City TV in Toronto), and still have it on an old VHS tape from the ’80s. They showed a whole bunch of computer animated shorts one week, and I managed to grab a bunch of them. I have it on a tape with a bunch of other odd things grabbed from TV, like the animations they used to show on Night Flight.