Friday, November 13, 2009

Animazing Spotlight Pt. 2

The next panel was "The Incestuous History of Technology & Animation" with Bill Kroyer, one of the main animators for Tron and a cofounder of Rhythm & Hues. He gave an amazing presentation on the earliest days of motion graphics, where he was literally programming every dot on the screen. After these vectors came parent chains, and he showed a simple but awesome animation of a 'block woman' swinging from a point. He showed us a test woman walking around that he did for Mick Jagger, which resulted in the "Hard Woman" video below:

He didn't screen this clip, but he had told us that he was unable to do planar rendering . . . I guess they had figured it out by then, but were unable to deform objects.

Bill mentioned that he shot the test footage frame by frame with a 35mm camera off the computer screen. It was a long test, and I asked afterwards if he edited the footage afterwards or if the computer was able to run such a long simulation. He said no, it was literally frame by frame - he had to wait for each image to render before exposing a single frame of film. He also said he projected an image of Mick Jagger onto the screen, but I'm not sure if he meant to animate over or to photograph.

In 1988, Bill Kroyer made the short "Technological Threat," a half 2D, half 3D short about workers being replaced by computers that was nominated for an academy award. It told the story of an organic life form fighting back against the machines that replaced him, but Bill was too late! The Academy also nominated Cordell Barker's "The Cat Came Back" and John Lasseter's "Tin Toy." "Tin Toy" took the prize.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Animazing Spotlight: Weekend of Animated Shorts

I spent all weekend at "Animazing Spotlight: Weekend of Animated Shorts," a festival which I learned about just last week when I got the chance to meet Yvette Kaplan (Beavis and Butt-Head, Doug). She gave a talk about MTV and her show, and will also be at CTN next week. She gave me some 10% coupons for CTN if anyone would like.

The first segment on Saturday was "A Crash Course on Character Animation - Eric Goldberg." Eric said his inspiration to make cartoons came from the Woody Woodpecker show, when Walter Lantz would do a weekly segment on how cartoons were made. He called them cheesy, staged pieces, but the closest to an animation education that he could get as a kid. They're actually pretty thorough:

Eric showed his work from Hercules and Aladdin while going over bits from his book "Character Animation Crash Course."

He mentioned things like not letting a second character go dead while the first one is talking and giving proper time and space to strong poses. He talked about establishing a rhythm for an action, and then changing that rhythm as a character reacts to a situation.

In the next segment, Bob Kurtz showed 'the shortest shorts,' tv spots from several decades. In addition to the usual great older (new york produced) stuff, he showed this piece:

It's called "Grrr," made in 2004 by a studio called "Nexus" in London, and it looks as if Lisa Frank had to grow up and get a serious job. Garrison Keillor's magical voice takes you through the slowish opening, but the visuals quickly get together and match the oddness of the lyrics. The actual animation is stiff and odd, as is the render, but I enjoy the overall flow and design. And who doesn't feel proud when rabbits don't have to wear sound proof earmuffs anymore?

Animation Calendar

One of my friends said recently "wouldn't it be great, if like, someone were to put together a google calendar filled with all the animation events in L.A.?"


Right now it's gathered from the Silent Movie Theater, New Bev, Aero, Egyptian, Asifa Calendar, AWN and Cartoon Brew. Did I miss anything?