Here’s a 15 second clip from Teddy Newton’s Pixar short Day and Night which will be released with Toy Story 3 on June 18th. The short is essentially hand drawn, being Pixar’s second film to be animated in 2D animation (Your Friend the Rat was the first). The insides of the characters are CG. Man, this looks good.
Always on the outlook for animated features, good or bad, to post about – I came across this flick which was independently produced by a small post-production and animation studio in Glendale, California, Hyper Image. Animated in 3D Max and aimed towards gamers and Star Wars: Clone Wars fans (It’s rated PG-13 for “some suggestive images and action violence”), Race came out on DVD last week through Phase 4 Films after a decade of development, production, post production — and a long search for distribution. Hyper Image is now at work on their next feature, the furry-centric N.O.R.M.A.L. the Movie.
Ren & Stimpy creator John Kricfalusi is starting an animation class in the LA area. The six-week course will include two classes a week for a total of twelve lessons. The cost will be $1200. Students must have basic drawing skills. This post on his blog has information on how to apply.
John is a natural when it comes to teaching, and having taught artists at his studio for decades, he knows how to put across concepts with clarity. I’ve suggested to John before that he should consider imparting his knowledge to artists beyond the studio setting, and now that he’s doing it, I’m delighted to recommend him. I don’t think there’s been a private animation class in LA this exciting since Chuck Jones unit animator Ben Washam held animation classes in his home back in the 1970s.
Our weekly survey of selected comic strips that reference animated characters. This week: Zippy (5/28) by Bill Griffith; Mother Goose and Grimm (5/28) by Mike Peters; Speed Bump (5/25) by Dave Coverly; Strange Brew (5/24) by John Deering; and Argyle Sweater (5/24) by Scott Hilburn.
(Thanks to our loyal comic strip crew: Jim Lahue, Ed Austin, Kurtis Findlay, Jed Martinez and Uncle Wayne)
Blow me down! On second thought, let me rephrase that.
First a Preston Blair piggy sex toy, and now this: A “Popeye” porn shop spotted in the main gay district of Tokyo. This is obviously not an officially licensed use of the character. Do you think someone over there is still sore over World War II Popeye cartoons like this one?
Get Him to the Greek is a live-action film that will be released in a few days. I don’t know anything about the film, but they’ve got this entertaining animated commercial to promote the film. Anybody know the credits for this spot? They deserve some recognition. And why doesn’t the movie studio have a nice version of this spot on-line? Rarely do I see animation this attractive in TV advertising nowadays.
Need a powerhouse gift for the cartoon lover in your life? Look no further than this completely authorized (by the Raymond Scott Archives) Raymond Scott 100th Anniversary Doll + CD set. This came out two years ago, but I just discovered its existence yesterday. Designed by musician/cartoonist Archer Prewitt to celebrate Scott’s centennial anniversary in 2008, it comes with fabric cloth jacket, mini clavivox (carefully designed to look as close to the original model as possible), and a CD with 5 songs (Powerhouse, The Happy Whistler, and several previously unreleased super-rare demonstration pieces). Act fast, this is a limited edition. Apparently the first of the series, the Bob Moog doll, is long sold out.
Director: Guilherme Marcondes
Executive Producer: Michael Feder
Producer: Greg Bedard
Lead TD: Arman Matin
TD & Layout Artist: Morgan James
Lighting: Ignacio Ayestaran, Erwin Riau
Modeling & Rigging: Daniel Williams
Modeling & Texturing: Ylli Orana
Rigging: Stanislav Llin
Color Keys: George Fuentes
Animation: Ken Music, Jamie Castaneda, Bill Burg
Compositing: Arman Matin & Allison Kocar
Particles: Jaymie Miguel
Above is a profile of Ray Lei, a Beijing-based graduate of Tsinghua University, Academy of Arts & Design. I was first introduced to his work when I was on the jury in Ottawa last year and saw three of his student films. As I recall, all of us on the jury had a similar (and curious) reaction in that we admired his work and thought it was creative, but didn’t particularly like the films. Nevertheless, Lei has plenty of ideas and creativity and I’m looking forward to following his professional career.
In the video interview, Lei says something that I hear often about animation schools in Asia, India and other developing animation regions of the world: that the schools treat animation too much as a trade and overemphasize technical skills at the expense of individual expression and thinking. That will be a big hurdle for those regions to overcome if they want to compete creatively with Western animation. Lei puts it best in the interview:
“It seems to me that too many people are too focused on the technical side of their work. Because I know After Effects, or Maya, I’m an animator. But that’s only one component in this big production. The technical skill that you’re proud of now will eventually become outdated and useless.”
More of Ray Lei’s illustration work can be seen on The Creators Project. Here’s a new eye candy-filled short by Lei:
And here’s a video of him rapping in Chinese accompanied by Simpsons director David Silverman on the tuba:
We’ve posted so many examples of Preston Blair art swipes in the past, the novelty has long worn off. We’ve pretty much stopped paying attention to the emails that still pour in with various sightings around the world with images ripped from Blair’s seminal Animation Book, first published in the 1940s by Walter Foster.
Now comes one I couldn’t ignore. Thanks to our ever vigilant readers, perhaps the saddest Blair swipe yet: the Ms. Piglet Party Pig
I really don’t want to know what this is, but according the the product description:
“The inflatable Party Piggie is a hilarious addition to any event. Known as the Famous Erotic Love Piggy, you and your guests will get a kick out of the fun that can be had with this inflatable novelty party toy.”
This site is part of an on-line exhibition showcasing domestic life in Japan during the “Showa” period (the Hirohito era, 1926-89). Japan’s Research Institute for Digital Media and Content (DMC Institute) digitized of a large collection of TV advertisements obtained from the Momoya Co., a leading food company. The collection consists of 218 animated TV spots that date back to 1953. Of the 50 pieces posted on-line, the earliest one was produced in 1958. These provide a glimpse at a rarely discussed early phase of anime history.
I’m not a gamer, so I can’t speak for the playability, but the design work by Peter Wagner for the new Xbox Live Arcade game Snoopy Flying Ace works for me. I’m not thrilled by the character voices (see trailer below) but the 3-dimensional realization of the Peanuts characters is right on. Wagner writes:
Smartbomb Interactives team of artists were tasked to re-imagine Snoopy (as the WWI flying ace) and give the cultural icon a fresh new feel. My job was to capture the essence of what it was like to be the fearless beagle, piloting a little red doghouse over Europe during the Great War.