Monday, September 28, 2009

San Diego Film Festival

I drove down to San Diego this weekend to give a talk to high school students about going to school for animation. I told them everything I wished I had known back then, the most important being to purchase the Animator's Survival Kit and read it. Their eyes lit up when I told them it was written by the animation director of Who Framed Roger Rabbit, so that was a good sign. In three/four hundred art students there were about seven who kept asking lots of animation questions.

My hero.

There was even one kid who wanted to go to NYU for animation. I thought it was all going rather well, right up until the very last question, when someone raised his hand and asked about the technology the first Disney shorts and Pinnochio were made with. I started to answer about multi-plane and had to be cut off by the host because my time was up. I went up to the kid afterward and started to explain again, then realized he was asking me how you made a movie before computers existed. I asked him if he knew what a cel was, and he said no. D:

I gave him a quick explanation and told him to read "Walt Disney: The Triumph of American Imagination" so he'd learn all about the Alice shorts and Silly Symphonies and such. I told him to look for the popping colors in older shorts, they would tell him when an additional cell was being laid on top of the bunch.

Well, you can't have it all. If I'm asked back next year I'll try to do a quick technological history of the medium.

This is a cel. This is only a cel.

I only saw one entirely animated short, entitled "Daniel Finds His Walking Stick."

The animation was ok, I really liked the lighting and environments. I spoke to filmmaker Gary Herbert about it afterward, and he said it was created entirely in Cinema 4d. Apparently the program has its own cloth and fur systems but lacks a good particle system. He used it mostly for motion graphics, but wanted to turn his story into a film and stuck with what he knew. I asked about how he lit the film, and he said it wife was a DP who helped him out with the set up. My own lighting skills are not that great so I'm always impressed when people do it well. Daniel was a horribly sad story, and I called my grandparents when I got out of the theater.

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