Hands down the coolest thing I’ve seen in the past week–heck, in the past month! Graeme Hawkin, the mad Scottish animation scientist who I profiled last year, continues to expand his experiments with 3-D zoetropes. The evolution of his zoetrope process and the making of this piece is documented extensively on his website Retchy.com so if you have questions, go there first. The hypnotic effect is achieved through a relatively basic concept–projection mapping onto a three-dimensional model rotating on a turntable. It reminds me of some of the performances I saw last year at the Elektra festival in Montreal, where artists created visual experiences that existed in a three-dimensional space instead of straight-ahead on a flat screen.
Here is a video of the turntable zoetrope that Graeme built from balsa wood minus the projection mapping:
The image above contains the response to the tragic natural disasters in Japan by a douchebag named Alec Sulkin, who happens to be a writer and producer on Family Guy. It’s the type of ignorant comment one might expect from an ill-educated fourteen-year-old, not from a working professional in the animation industry. He later tweeted, “I am sorry for my insensitive tweet. It’s gone.” Too little, too late, bro. It sickens me that people this stupid and prejudiced have a place in our community. To get the bad taste out of my mouth, I just donated money to the Red Cross. You can too by visiting the Red Cross website, or to make a $10 donation simply text REDCROSS to 90999.
UPDATE: Bleeding Cool also offered some thoughts about Sulkin’s words: “This world view, that the citizens of a nation are somehow statistics to be tallied in a historical spreadsheet of deaths, and that there’s somehow a desirable, karmic distribution to be had is absolutely disgusting.”
UPDATE #2: Toy Story 3 art director Dice Tsutsumi has started up a fund called Artists Help Japan. To donate, visit Give2Asia.org.
UPDATE #3: Gilbert Gottfried was just fired as the voice of the Aflac duck after a series of tweets about Japan, none of which were as prejudiced as Sulkin’s, who is still happily employed by 20th Century Fox TV.
This has appeared on several sites in the last few days, and I couldn’t resist posting it on the Brew. It’s Tomm Moore’s follow up to The Secret of Kells, currently in storyboard at Cartoon Saloon. Animator Alessandra Sorrentino posted this teaser on You Tube:
Disney’s Mars Needs Moms opened today. It got no love from The New York Times where reviewer Mike Hale began his critique this way:
“It seems that it’s time to admit that dressing actors in LED-studded catsuits, asking them to give performances on sterile white sets and handing the results to a team of computer animators is not a way to make a good movie. It didn’t work for “The Polar Express,” “Beowulf” or “A Christmas Carol,” and it doesn’t work for “Mars Needs Moms,” the latest product of Robert Zemeckis’s obsession with motion-capture animation.”
“Live versus lifelike continues to be problematic for this particular technique. Despite refinements in the years since filmmaker Robert Zemeckis – a producer on “Mars” – pushed it into the long-form, storytelling arena in 2004 with “The Polar Express,” its characters still carry the Stepford look.”
I had a chance to catch M-N-M at a critics screening (there was no way I was going to pay to see it) and – Surprise! – I didn’t hate it. I’d certainly rank it next to Monster House as one of the better of the ImageMovers Digital bunch. But let me be clear, I despise these Zemeckis films for one simple reason – I cannot get past the zombie-like faces of the human characters. When I allow myself to do so, I can see the craft involved and actually think the stories and storytelling is very good. Simon Wells directed this film for Zemeckis, and it’s certainly an action-packed, visually delightful children’s adventure. But it’s so hard for me to watch the lead little boy (Milo, acted by Seth Green) and his mom (Joan Cusack). Since the rest of the characters are “martian”, I had no problem with anything else on screen – even humanoid Gribble (Dan Fogler) who was rendered almost photo-real and was less zombie-ish than the others. This might have been an incredible film, a children’s classic, if they inserted human actors into the picture. If you have no problem with the mo-cap visual phoniness of the lead characters you may enjoy it.
But will you or any other Cartoon Brew readers see it? If so, I really want to know what you think. The comments below are open ONLY to readers reviews by those who have actually seen the film. This will be strictly enforced! I’ll be very interested in hearing your opinions.
Check out this moody new music video for the Australian band The Audreys, produced by Luke Jurevicius and directed by Ari Gibson & Jason Pamment .
Produced by Luke Jurevicius
Directed by Ari Gibson & Jason Pamment
Production Designers: Luke Jurevicius, Shane Devries, Jason Pamment, Ari Gibson
Story by Luke Jurevicius, Ari Gibson & Jason Pamment
2D Animation: Ari Gibson
Background Art: Jason Pamment
Compositing: Ryan Kirby & Jason Pamment
Coloring: Jarrod Prince & Joshua Bowman
Executive Producers: Stu McCullough, Taasha Coates, Tristan Goodall
French film collector, archivist and Annecy Animation Festival creative director Serge Bromberg will present Retour de Flamme: Rare and Restored Films in 3-D on May 1st at San Francisco’s famed Castro Theatre.
Bromberg will be honored with the 2011 Mel Novikoff Award for his invaluable work as “a collector, preservationist, exhibitor, programmer and enthusiast of cinematic treasures”. On Sunday May 1st at 5pm, he will accept the award and then dazzle the audience of the 54th San Francisco International Film Festival (April 21 – May 5) with his collection dedicated to stereoscopic 3D shorts. The program includes rareties by the LumiÃ¨re Brothers, Georges MéliÃ¨s, Norman McLaren, Charley Bowers, Chuck Jones and the Disney Studios, films from the Soviet Union and contemporary shorts by Matthew O’Callaghan and Pixar’s John Lasseter.
Films will include Coyote Falls (Matthew O’Callaghan, USA 2010, 3 min); Falling in Love Again (Munro Ferguson, Canada 2003, 4 min); The Infernal Boiling Pot (George MéliÃ¨s, France 1903, 2 min); Knick Knack (John Lasseter, USA 1989, 4 min); Lumber-Jack Rabbit (Chuck Jones, USA 1954, 7 min); Melody (Ward Kimball, USA 1953, 10 min); Motor Rhythm (John Norling, USA 1940, 15 min); Musical Memories (Dave Fleischer, USA 1935, 7 min); Working for Peanuts (Jack Hannah, USA 1953); and many many others.
Tickets are $15 for San Francisco Film Society members and $20 for the general public. For tickets and information visit sffs.org/tickets. The box office is now open for members and on March 30th for the general public. For more information visit sffs.org. I highly recommend you attend this incredible screening.
This Oxfam spot was plugged here a couple years back, but I only discovered it and couldn’t resist sharing again, along with some details about how it was made. The piece is by the British duo of Benji Davies and Jim Field, who operate as Frater Films and whose piece The Year of the Rabbit appeared on the Brew last month.
The PSA is anchored by a well developed visual concept that emphasizes the contrast between black-and-white characters and the colorful sounds they emit. The characters were animated in After Effects, while the sound patterns were made from rubber stamp prints that were colored digitally. Examples of the stamps can be seen on the Frater Films site. All aspects of the spot are smartly conceived including the sound and music design of Stuart Earl.
Wolfgang Matzl remade Inception with vintage paper cut-outs, shot frame-by-frame on his digital camera, for the Done In 60 Seconds competition (where entrants recreate a movie in no more than a minute). His film was one of the 10 finalists in Berlin, Germany.
Need to do some pre-viz work at the coffeeshop or airport but don’t have your laptop with you? Verto Studio 3D is new modeling software for the iPad created by Micheal L. Farrell. It may not be the first such iPad software on the market, but according to Marc Lougee who wrote this positive review of Verto Studio 3D, it’s the best to date. Lougee cites its relative ease of use (only 15 buttons) and fairly sophisticated feature set as selling points. The other selling point is it’s $7.99.
Berlin-based artist Alexander Gellner created One Minute Puberty recently as part of his graduation project from HTW Berlin. The school didn’t have an animation department, but Gellner tells me they allowed him to make this film provided he didn’t ask his professors how to animate. The results, created over the span of seven weeks, speak for themselves. I loved every moment of Gellner’s energetic piece, which is actually One Minute and Forty One Seconds Puberty, though understandably that title isn’t as catchy. There’s nothing inherently original about showing the phases of puberty, but Gellner’s approach distinguishes the film. The metamorphic state of the character and rapid-fire scenes visually reflect the raging hormones that characterize this stage of our development and the inherent confusion of trying to sort out all the changes in a person’s body and mind. Track and sound design by Niklas A KrÃ¶ger.