Monthly Archives: April 2010

Blog Post #13 – My Short Life as an Animator

When this class started I had no idea how much work animation entailed.  My first thoughts for my project was to do a flip book.  Of course, I thought.  I can do that — my daughter has done them since she was able to hold a pencil!  But my artistic genes are not in drawing.  Since pen and paper was out I looked at animation programs and found one that I thought would work — Animationsish.  It was simple — actually a child could do it.  After reading comments on the program, the recommendation of using wacom tablet sent me to the store to buy one. As the semester progressed and my life became more complicated I decided to ditch this idea because the learning curve was just too much for me to deal with.  After all — the Wacom tablet still entailed using a pen!

I finally decided to do stop-motion animation.  I was a lot more comfortable with my digital camera.  My subject would be the  Leggo Empire State Building.  After purchasing the last leggo kit Barnes and Nobel had in stock, I found a gorilla to climb it.  The next decision was to choose a program to help me build the animation.  I downloaded a trial copy of iStopMotion.

I loved my first series of pictures!  They were all in focus, good placement and because of the tall building shot vertically.  To my dismay when I dumped the pictures into iStopMotion it cut them all in half because it only accepted horizontal pictures )c:

I don’t think that the free download version had all the features of the original program.  Plus my learning curve was too steep and I had to reshoot the sequence.  After a lot of frustration I finally ended up with a 22 second animation, “I Love New York.”

Of all the animators that we have studied my favorite is Lotte Reiniger.  After putting together my class project with today’s technology, I am amazed at the patience and fortitude she had to create Prince Achmed.  I know that being an animator is not my calling in life, but I now fully appreciate those who are. Creativity abounds in their life!  And speaking of creativity …. my daughter ended up with the Wacom Bamboo pen and tablet (c:  

I have commented on the posts of Myca Taylor and Michael Morse.


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Blog Post #12 – Moby Music Videos Revisited

In my Blog Post # 9 I told of the music video competition that was being held by Moby for his song Wait for Me. He ended up having over 500 entrants and on April 15, 2010 announced the six finalist in the competition.  Two of the six finalist were animated videos that were at very different ends of the creative spectrum.  I was very impressed.

Maik Hempel of Australia was one of the four finalist who were chosen by Moby and  His description of the animation was ” a small, 16 bit computer game character experiences the worst day of his life.”

The submission by Sergey Kazakov and Alexandr Lishnevski of Belarus was one of the two entries that were chosen as a finalist by votes by viewers votes.

This animation was my favorite because of its clean lines and spot use of color while showing a wonderful depth of field through out.

The Wait for Me competition winners were announced on April 19, 2009 and Maik Hempel’s animation was chosen runner up to the non-animated winner by Nimrod Shapira from Israel.

Maik shared the following about the creative process he used in the production of his video:

“it wasn’t until a couple of weeks after i heard about this competition through a mailing list, that i had the idea for the video. the song is very melancholy so i figured doing it in a computer game style would make for some nice juxtaposition. that’s right, juxtaposition. its different to anything i’ve animated in the past, because essentially the whole clip is made of two-frame cycles. i played a lot of super mario world to get the right look for it. it’s always easier to make a music video for an artist/band if you have a preexisting interest in them. for example, i probably wouldn’t make a video for zz top. but i remember when my sister first introduced me to moby (not him, just his music obviously) in 2000. i loved “play”, which was one of the albums that got me interested in electronic music. so, to be able to make a video for moby is a nice way to salute him for the deliciousness his music has brought to my ears over the years (excuse the rhyme).” – maik

I have commented on the blogs of Kristina Wade and Hayleigh Allingham.

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Blog Post #11 – Preview: Waking Sleeping Beauty

As a patron of the local Cinema Arts Theatre, I receive an email update of films that are currently showing, what films are leaving and information on the choices the theater owner is making for future showings.  My last email had some intriguing information:

“Interesting this week — Please note we are trying to get the Disney documentary Waking Sleeping Beauty by the end of the month.  There is no marketing support, so word of mouth has to work.  The wish it to start April 23, but that is not confirmed.  We hope to be exclusive with downtown!!”

I was somewhat surprised because I had not heard about the documentary and considering the fact it goes hand and hand with our study of animation, I thought I would see what information I could find.

IMDB did not have a lot of information on its website.  It did show limited release dates, mostly Film Festivals:

September 5, 2009 – USA Telluride Film Festival

Sept 15, 2009 – Canada Toronto International Film Festival

October 2009 – USA Hamptons International Film Festival

October 18, 2009 – USA Heartland Film Festival

January 2010 – USA Palm Springs International Film Festival

April 10, 2010 – USA AFI Dallas International Film Festival

It is slated for limited 2010 USA release.

The Art Center College of Design, Film Department tells us “Waking Sleeping Beauty tells the story of Disney’s unparalelled success with animation during the halcyon years of 1984-1994. The film features amazing behind-the-scenes footage, shot in defiance of strict Disney company rules, documenting the intense power struggles between Michael Eisner, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Roy E. Disney and others. The guerilla cameramen capturing the drama include former Disney animator and current Pixar chief John Lasseter!”

In the Feb. 15, 2010 blog of Chad Sellers, Animator for Disney, the film was described this way:

“Director Don Hahn (producer of Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King) and producer Peter Schneider (former chairman of the studio), key players at Walt Disney Studios feature animation department during the mid1980s, offer a behind-the-magic glimpse of the turbulent times the animation studio was going through and the staggering output of hits that followed over the next 10 years. Artists polarized between the hungry young innovators and the old guard who refused to relinquish control, mounting tensions due to a string of box-office flops, and warring studio leadership create the backdrop for this fascinating story told with a unique and candid perspective from those that were there. Through interviews, internal memos, home movies and a cast of characters featuring Michael Eisner, Jeffrey Katzenberg and Roy Disney, alongside an amazing array of talented artists that includes Steven Spielberg, Richard Williams, John Lasseter and Tim Burton, Waking Sleeping Beauty shines a light on Disney animation’s darkest hours, greatest joys and its improbable renaissance.”

Unfortunately, as of April 26, 2010 Waking Sleeping Beauty has not been released to any theaters in the metropolitan DC/NVa area. I will definitely be on the lookout for it as I believe it will give us an in-depth look at how Disney evolved to what it is today.

I have commented on the blogs of Rebecca Townsend and Michael Taylor.

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Animation: I Love New York


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Blog Post #10 – Bunnies!

Yes, Spring is in the air and we all love that big basket of goodies from the Easter Bunny.  While reading some of my tweets this week I came across a link to some animation that sent me in to hysterical laughter … parodies of movies enacted by animated bunnies!  These 30 second animated movie shorts by Angry Alien are funny and actually capture the essence of each movie movie they parody.

Jennifer Shiman started Angry Alien Productions with her creations in 1998.  She uses Adobe Flash for coloring and animation after scanning her hand drawn characters into Adobe Photoshop.  She originally sketched a range of characters for her classic movies in 30 seconds …kittens, beavers, mice, elves …but the bunnies struck her as the perfect actor.

There is a large collection of movies that have been bunnified for your entertainment: new movies, old movies, horror, comedy,  action/adventure, drama.

Angry Alien Productions has produced Bunny Shorts for the Starz network.  In 2008 the 30-Second Bunnies Theatre won two Webby Awards for Online Film and Video/Animation, plus the People’s Voice award in that category.

You can find more of the 30 Second Bunnies Theater Library  and information about Angry Alien Productions on their website.

I have commented on the blogs of Christopher DeMarco and Gerard Thomas.


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