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.

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