Saturday, September 20, 2008

here be arrrtwork

Hope you celebrated International Talk Like a Pirate Day with as much enthusiasm as our office did on Friday. We took it to the next level in that we not only talked the talk, we walked the walk. With costumes. On a river barge on the San Antonio River Walk. Accostin' th'public and causin' a hullabaloo. Just another reason why I love doing what I do. These animation-based companies have all the fun. If you forgot to celebrate - don't worry it will come around again the same time next year!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

it's enough to make a girl crazy

OmigodthenewDisneytrailerisout! So yeah. In case you haven't heard, Disney has finally released a teaser trailer for their new 2009 traditionally animated film, The Princess and the Frog. Take a peek.

Look familiar? Mark Henn was also the supervising animator for Mulan, in case you didn't notice. Even in this short clip, Princess Tiana's movements and mannerisms are strikingly similar to those of China's favorite soldier impersonator (that quick head nod, the disarming and apologetic grin, et cetera). You notice it now, don't you?

And to make sure you're all caught up, this is the official story blurb Disney has posted on their site:
A musical set in the greatest city of them all, New Orleans. "The Princess and the Frog" marks Disney's return to the warmth and grandeur of hand drawn animation. The film teams Ron Clements and John Musker, creators of "The Little Mermaid" and "Aladdin" with Oscar winning composer Randy Newman. From the heart of Louisiana's mystical bayous and the banks of the mighty Mississippi comes an unforgettable tale of love, enchantment and discovery with a trumpet playing alligator, a love sick Cajun firefly, and a host of other charming characters at every turn.
Are you as ecstatic as I am right now? Maybe it's all that Dr. Pepper I just drank, but I'm shaking in my chair. With anticipation. The good kind of anticipation. The kind that gets people saying, "Boy, Tillie sure is weird."

Sunday, June 15, 2008

HD is here and it's beautiful

Prepare to have your minds blown. Ready? Ok. MyToons has gone HD. I know, right? High definition animations?! Just breathe. Then whet your appetite by checking out Blender's 3-D short, Big Buck Bunny in all its glory. Woh.

Did anyone else celebrate Drawing Day '08? I know this post is a little late, but I wanted to include the HD news. So here I am now. Below is my little contribution, a tribute to the discoveries you can make when you unplug and step outdoors (with a little help from your imagination):

Friday, May 16, 2008

a bright future? let's take a look...

I shall start with a little item I created this week. I was inspired by the silliness of our technological "advancements" and the preoccupation with something I like to call "supreme screen shrinkage." Does anybody actually want to watch a full movie on their tiny iPod or cell phone? What if it was a foreign film and it had tiny, tiny subtitles? The industry, I am certain, is determined to make us all go blind. Then they'll swoop in on their crab-walkers and pluck our money right out of our pockets while we bump about blinking rapidly, trying to find the light. Just... take a look.

Things I'm excited for:

Henry Selick's stop-motion feature for 2009, Coraline. Because any feature length stop-mo film makes me giddy. And because he was director of the darkly amazing Nightmare Before Christmas, I think this has major potential. Not to mention it will be coming to theaters in 3-D! Woh!

Hurrah! A clip:

Sylvain Chomet's newest animated feature, The Illusionist, which comes out in France and the U.K. in 2009. The strangeness that was Triplets of Belleville really intrigued me, so I am confident that his direction will once again bring something more to the table than American-made cookie-cutter films. Seriously, stop with the 3-D already!

Going with the 2009 release date theme I've got going on here, I'll add the tiniest of updates on Disney's return to traditionally animated princesses. The feature length flick is now called The Princess and the Frog, and due to some controversy (gurg, this whiny junk happens too frequently nowadays) there have been a few changes here and there. I personally liked the name Maddy for our musically-inclined princess, but it looks like we'll be calling her Tiana from now on, which is apparently less slave-girl like. Oh, and on that note she no longer starts out as a chambermaid. Uh, hello people, several Disney princess have been "slaves" to evil whosits and it's never been a problem before. Racist image my foot. It's a rags to riches, poor to princess fairytale so get over it. Le sigh.

Ahem! I think now would be an appropriate time for me to lament the loss of Chris Sanders (the quirky genius behind one of my favorite animated films, Lilo & Stitch) and to glare most disapprovingly in Disney's direction. Again. He's been removed as writer/director from his "American Dog" project and his wonderful vision, now retooled, is starting to look and sound annoyingly unoriginal. "Bolt", as it is now called, has been restructured by Chris Williams (of Mulan and Emperor's New Groove) and looks just like any other 3-D film out there. I mean, c'mon! "Too quirky for it's own good"?! Oh, John Lasseter, why? Why would you throw out an oversized radioactive rabbit character? Madness!

It went from this:

To this:

Boy, if I ran the world...

Sunday, April 06, 2008

share session

I know, I know - I'm a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad person. It's time for me to breathe some life back into this blog.

To fill you in on these past few months, I've started working at MyToons. For those of you not familiar with the website, its goal is to help artists showcase their animation and artwork in an enthusiastic, ever-growing community of peers. And if you don't check it out, I may have to hunt you down and slap some sense into you. Here's a quick sampling of some of my favorites to get you in the mood:

Adventures - from
Ahmed Bashir's "Adventures"

sushi - from
Joel Furtado's "sushi"

fox+hound - from
Laure Retif's "fox hound"

And of course, you'll be wanting to watch some of the awesome animation people have posted. Well, try these on for size:
[Edit: now with reliable (comparatively speaking) youtube embeds!]

Three Legged Legs' "Samurai" [digital 2-D]

Phil Dubrovsky and Dale Hayward's "The Flower" [stop-motion]

Terry Ibele's "Babies of the Future!" [stop-motion]

Alban Leliévre's "Do Penguins Fly?" [3-D]

As for me, I've been testing my skills on a Wacom they were kind enough to lend me. It's my first time drawing with a graphics tablet (not counting the old 4x5 inch Wacom Graphire from 1999 that I used with Microsoft Paint in those awkward years before I discovered Photoshop) and I've found that it's quite gratifying, even if I'm not entirely used to it yet. Sketching the perfect line is that much harder without the comforting friction of pencil on paper, but I'm getting there.

Perhaps I've already crowded this post with too much stuff, but thanks to MyToons, you see, I'm in the sharing mood. I'll end today's session with a piece I drew last Friday when I was feeling particularly cheery. Enjoy.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

the long and short of it

The 2008 Academy Awards. For those of you who are as indifferent as I am towards some of the Academy's choices of nominees for Best Picture, etc., I bring you a quick rundown on the more *cough* interesting *cough* nominations. Not that Michael Clayton isn't a swell flickit very well could beit is merely the fact that I am too bored by its trailer to make any effort on my part to see it. Juno or bust. That said, I will now proceed with the list of animation nominees.

Best Animated Feature:

This I'm dying to see. I read Marjane Satrapi's books and really enjoyed them. The animation on this piece looks simple, yet elegant - very much like the books themselves. Fingers double-crossed? Check. (Sony Pictures Classics - Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud)

I loved this movie a lotstory, characters, animationthe works. I'm torn between this and Persepolis, which I haven't even seen yet. Pixar is the bee's knees, but I gotta show my support for the foreign underdog in this case. Maybe. We'll see. (Disney/Pixar - Brad Bird) Winner!

Meh. Without Pixar, 3-D features just aren't that great. Surf's Up was another letdown. I'm a fan of mockumentaries (woot, Christopher Guest), but this just didn't deliver the laughs like I thought it would. Props for trying a new style, though. (Sony Pictures Releasing - Ash Brannon and Chris Buck)

Best Animated Short:

An animated interview with John Lennon, eh? Could be good, but I prefer something with a story, a plot. Still, from what I've seen the art direction is quite fascinating as it morphs line art and digital art in quick, quirky motions. (Josh Raskin) Watch the trailer.

I was really mesmerized by Tutli-Putli's eyes, and then I realized they were real! Real, as in live action footage seamlessly overlayed digitally onto the stop-motion puppet itself. And it's extraordinary how well the eyes show the emotions of Tutli-Putli while the rest of her face remains inanimate. They really mastered the effect. Beautifully shot. Awesome character movement. I'm rooting for this one. (Chris Lavis and Maciek Szczerbowski) Watch.

A silly little 3-D short with really great lighting. Not my favorite of the group, but a delightful romp, nonetheless. (Samuel Tourneux and Simon Vanesse) Watch.

Beautiful paint-on-glass from Russia. What an unbelievable talent, to have to keep working forward, to paint over your own best work again and again in order to achieve beauty on a grander scale - it's madness! This one may just take the cake. Unfortunately, I haven't found an English translation, but that doesn't take away from the visual splendor of it all, now, does it? (Alexander Petrov) Watch part 1, 2, 3.

Stop-motion version of Sergei Prokofiev's classic "Peter and the Wolf" tale. There's some really nice stuff here and it's got a little humor in it as well. The characters really have, well... character. Great job with the sets, too. I definitely had fun watching it. (Suzie Templeton and Hugh Welchman) Watch. Winner!

There you have it. So tune in Sunday, February 24th to ABC (that is, if the "big shots" at the media companies can get over their "bigness" and throw the writers a bone) and watch Jon Stewart host this year's ceremony. He's great, movies are great, and animation is greatest - watch already!