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Archive for the ‘Animation’ Category

How long has it been? A year? My mind conjures only a gauzy recollection of the recent past; details are obscured or omitted completely, the dream-like narrative giving way to something even more elusive. Like reading the long-lost autobiography of Franklin D. Roosevelt—Mr. Roosevelt’s Wooly Utopia—I fall easily into sleep from utter boredom and recall something that  might have been forgotten had I not remembered it (in addition to being somewhat perplexed, intrigued and put-off by the number of times that the wearing of pink Angora sweaters is mentioned).

But I digress. Here it is, my updated animation reel for 2011.

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Well, I’ve finally gone ligit, as the kids say. My portfolio is up and running and ready for the enjoyment of many eyeballs. I’ve got illustrations galore, a sampling of production art from over the years, as well as my updated animation reel with shiny new content. It’s a veritable blitzkrieg of good times!  And for the first 100 viewers, you’ll receive a box of uneaten fruit pies circa 1993. What are you waiting for? Go! Now! Look at me wag my finger!

 

 

 

Is that Hanna-Barbera animator, Carlo Vinci and yours truly?

 

 

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Guns and Gams

This trailer for the Palm Springs International Short Festival has been making the rounds for a couple of months, but for those who haven’t seen it, I would be remiss if I didn’t write even a small blurb about it. Produced by MAKE animation studios, this bit of cartoon noir is so exciting and inspiring to look at, that I want an entire feature with these characters and this style of animation. Riffing on noir archetypes—albeit with cartoon sensibilities—the short is really fun to watch. Great character design, voice acting and animation abound (even the bits of CG are smart and well-integrated). There are so many small details that become apparent upon repeated viewings; nothing seems inconsequential or an afterthought. More than anything, this ad proves the viability of 2D animation in America, that not every ad/feature film has to be done in 3D to be relevent.

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OK, so I’ve never spoken about work-related projects on this site, however I thought I would make an exception with today’s release of Disney’s Princess and the Frog, their “return” to 2D (well, at least 2D with some marketing muscle behind it). No, I didn’t work on the movie, however I did work on one of the ubiquitous marketing tie-ins for the film, the Wii game, which was released a few weeks ago. I was the animation lead on the suite of mini-games based on the movie, and the reason I mention this is that I was particularly pleased with the results; the animation is lively and fun and captures the characters from the movie very well indeed.  

The other reason I mention this is that the people at Disney film were very gracious and helpful and set up two meetings with all of the animation leads from the film to critique the animations in our game (and, as an aside, this is very rare that the film studio would want to give the game-makers this much access to the filmmakers (at least in my experience)). Meeting all of the leads, however brief, was wonderful. They were all genuinely nice, and they all understood the limits of game animation versus traditional 2D film animation, so their feedback was all very applicable.

Eric Goldberg was just as I imagined him to be; animated and lively, cracking jokes and ever willing to draw Louis (the alligator character that he was the lead animator on) in all sorts of key poses to express his physicality. Ray’s (the firefly) lead, Mike Surrey, had a ton of great feedback and was incredibly receptive to the game overall.

Anyhow, if  you get a chance, go check out the movie and buy the game, if you are so inclined (OK, no more product plugs, I promise).

Below are a couple of designs I did for some of the mini-games.

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Animation Reel

Well, finally, I’m entering the 21st Century and posting my latest animation reel here, on the Catalogue of Curiosities. I’ve even made a separate page for easier access. What could be better? Hot dogs with relish? I think not!

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There were many different Halloween and “horror-themed” shorts in the history of Warner Bros animation, but I thought I would post some brief reflections on three of my favorites.

First up are two great shorts from director Chuck Jones. The first is later period Jones, Transylvania 6-5000, which features Jones’ distinct redesign of the Warner Bros characters, as well as amazing backgrounds by Philip Degaurd. Maurice Noble is credited as “Co-director” however this short seems to have Nobles’ particular design aesthetic all over it as far as the backgrounds are concerned. The compositions, character blocking, writing, key poses are all wonderful and extremely thoughtful in this short.

 

 

Hare Rasing Hare doesn’t contain as much artistic refinement and that particular “Chuck Jones” look as Transylvania 6-5000, but it is equally as fun and funny and has some great lines. The scene in which Bugs poses as a manicurist and rambles on and on about monsters leading interesting lives is about the best thing next to eating a giant block of cheese in your underwear.

 

 

And this last short, The Great Piggy Bank Robbery by director Bob Clampett, although not specifically Halloween or horror-themed (although Daffy does dress up as Duck Twacy), does get kind of weird at the end with all of the Dick Tracy knock off villains pursuing Daffy, it seemed vaguely Halloween-esque, so I thought I would include it in this overview. Most of all, this has to be, hands down, the greatest Daffy Duck short (at least I think so). Daffy is at his most Daffy (before he became more of an asshole than a basket case) and Bob Clampett’s variety, and extreme nataure of many of the character poses rivals that of fellow Warner Bros director Tex Avery. The backgrounds are lush, with expert and thoughtful composition (again by Philip Degaurd) and the pacing, timing and dialogue throughout is spot-on.

 

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I’ve posted a few times about Ed Benedict and his amazing body of work, but I thought I post again because, well, each time a look at more of his designs I become inspired all over again.

 

 

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