December 29, 2008

The Art of Jonathan Burton

Cereal Box Art

See the gallery of 100 cereal box covers.

THE SPIRIT That Never Was

Read this L.A. Times article by former Chuck Jones/Bill Melendez/Richard Williams publicist-turned-animation producer Steven Paul Leiva (Space Jam), about his ill-fated attempts to bring Will Eisner’s The Spirit to the screen. The story tells how Brad Bird, John Lasseter, John Musker, Jerry Rees (and other Hollywood bigshots) tried to make a potentially ground-breaking animated feature over 20 years ago (Leiva is pictured above left, in 1981, with Brad Bird (center) and Will Eisner at right). Via cartoonbrew

Intro to Rob Boutilier's "Kid vs. Kat"

A new low in awful CG animated film trailers: 'Delgo'

See my previous post here on other unbelievably-bad CG animated movie trailers.

December 28, 2008


David Fincher does it again.
With OK films like Aliens 3 and Panic Room, I was a big fan
of Fincher after Se7en, Fight Club, and the most incredible crime
drama of the past decade; Zodiac, and he's just getting better every
couple of years and when he's given total creative freedom, he seems

accomplishment. It stylistically shows a span of history, carefully
orchestrating an evolution of style and mood that tracks the passing
years. This is an intelligent fantasy with a beautifully sustained
and intricate attention to tone. Almost certainly this haunting
fantasy will be my best film of 2008. This is a loose adaptation
and a translation forward in time of the story by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The digital special effects revolution that is now in its fourth
decade and has reached a higher point of maturity when the question
is no longer "What can I put in my movie?" and it is now "How do
effects that help me to tell this story." That is what the effects do

Not since Golem in LOTR has there been such convincing CG
characterization that makes you marvel at the time and effort made
by the CG artists to make the most realistic movement and facial
expressions possible with the current technology.

The environmental effects and all visual effects are so seamlessly effective
in conveying the story that the director, here David Fincher, can just tell
the story he wants to tell. In this case the story is vaguely reminiscent of
FORREST GUMP with several parallels. That is not surprising since Eric Roth
wrote both screenplays. Benjamin Button (Pitt) was born in 1919 an old man
and lives his life getting younger. Along the way we see a wide swath of American
history. Like in FORREST GUMP we see his tortured relationship with a woman
from whom his condition separates him. This is Daisy, played beautifully
(when an adult) by Cate Blanchett. In this case his relationship starts out
grandfatherly and the two get closer to the same age until they
pass each other into a relationship reminiscent of the end of

very deliberately paced to lull the viewer into the period feel and to
allow him to ease into the fantasy story. Yet there is always more
than enough on the screen to involve the viewer. Fincher creates
the feel of the period directly and by insetting small stories done
in the style of cinema of the time. All sorts of technical aspects
are done very nicely including makeup that ages (or un-ages) the
characters. One finds oneself impressed with Cate Blanchett's
dancing, but later wondering if it might be the result of digital
wizardry. The one place where the attention to detail lets us down
is in insufficient resemblance between actors playing the same
character at different ages.

The tale is told in flashback, read from a letter once written to a
woman now dying in a New Orleans hospital. The letter tells the
story of the life of the title character. His mother died giving
him birth and his father (Jason Flemyng), in grief and abhorrence
for the monstrous looking baby, rejects him and leaves him on the
step of an underfunded nursing home. From birth the child looks
more like an old man, which is just what he turns out to be
physically. He is adopted by the black care-giver Queenie
(lovingly played by Taraji P. Henson) and raised as an old man in
the home. Eric Roth's screenplay sticks to purely fictional
characters, but he does meet someone who is based on the real-life
Ota Benga, the pygmy who was put in a zoo.

This film is a technical triumph, but not one whose touches call
attention away from the plot line. It is a beautiful mood piece.
I recommend it to anyone who enjoys deeply textured films with very
strong visual story telling techniques, richly detailed environments
and locations, and for anyone who enjoys a nice fantasy film.

2008 Year in Review

Ten Kens - Spanish Fly

Design, Animation, Compositing by Peter Auld & Louis Norris

Picture of the Day

Monsters Vs. Aliens

"Game Over" by PES

A Message From George W Bush

Labtayt Sulci on Saturn's Enceladus

Do some surface features on Enceladus roll like a conveyor belt? A leading interpretation of recent images taken of Saturn's most explosive moon indicate that they do. This form of asymmetric tectonic activity, very unusual on Earth, likely holds clues to the internal structure of Enceladus, which may contain subsurface seas where life might be able to develop. Pictured above is a composite of 28 images taken by the robotic Cassini spacecraft in October just after swooping by the ice-spewing orb. Inspection of these images show clear tectonic displacements where large portions of the surface all appear to move all in one direction. Near the top of the image appears one of the most prominent tectonic divides: Labtayt Sulci, a canyon about one kilometer deep.

December 23, 2008

Scientists Warn Large Earth Collider May Destroy Earth

In October, Fermilab scientists joined a growing number of physicists around the world in warning that the Very Large Earth Collider—a $117 billion electromagnetic particle accelerator built to study astronomical phenomena by colliding Earth into various heavenly bodies—could potentially destroy Earth when it sends the planet careening headlong into Mars, Jupiter, or even the sun.

"The Large Earth Collider will surely gain us priceless scientific insight by offering a brief glimpse of the universe at the moment of its destruction," Fermilab director Gordon Josephs said. "But because the Collider achieves this by hurtling Earth into another large celestial object, there are some who feel the risks associated with annihilating our world are too high. All I know for certain is that this rigorous debate will only end when we activate the VLEC, make the Earth collide with another planet, and obtain results through firsthand observation."

"That's just good science," Josephs added.

Physicists at CERN and Brookhaven National Laboratory, who underwrote the VLEC's construction with donations from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, agree that there are "some troubling variables" whenever attempting to launch Earth through the vacuum of space into a massive body of solid matter. Yet, they insist, the academic benefits of a planetary collision outweigh any risk of annihilating the Earth.

"When we boil the oceans, tear the tectonic plates from the globe, and peel back the layers of the Earth to expose its molten core, we'll be seeing firsthand what end-times researchers have only theorized about," said Greg Giddings, a planetologist at the University of Michigan. "It might be worth the chance—which, if you ask me, is very small—of destroying the Earth in the process just to see that."

"There will always be Chicken Little types," theoretical physicist and futurist Michio Kaku said. "When the first nuclear reaction was achieved, there were those who said its very existence made it a weapon of unspeakable power, and there is evidence they may have been right. It's probably worth asking if the Very Large Earth Collider may in fact pose some minute danger to the Earth."

While the project remains controversial, physicists agreed in late November to reconvene and evaluate the risk factor of the project after a small-scale field test, during which the Very Large Earth Collider will be turned on at 10 percent capacity, catapulting Earth into the moon at only half the speed of light.


December 22, 2008

Trey Ratcliff - The Best HDR Photo Artist:

The legendary story of Cliff Young is already known to many runners. If you're aren't familiar with it, you're in for a fascinating read:

Every year, Australia hosts 543.7-mile (875-kilometer) endurance racing from Sydney to Melbourne. It is considered among the world's most grueling ultra-marathons. The race takes five days to complete and is normally only attempted by world-class athletes who train specially for the event. These athletes are typically less than 30 years old and backed by large companies such as Nike.

In 1983, a man named Cliff Young showed up at the start of this race. Cliff was 61 years old and wore overalls and work boots. To everyone's shock, Cliff wasn't a spectator. He picked up his race number and joined the other runners.

The press and other athletes became curious and questioned Cliff. They told him, "You're crazy, there's no way you can finish this race." To which he replied, "Yes I can. See, I grew up on a farm where we couldn't afford horses or tractors, and the whole time I was growing up, whenever the storms would roll in, I'd have to go out and round up the sheep. We had 2,000 sheep on 2,000 acres. Sometimes I would have to run those sheep for two or three days. It took a long time, but I'd always catch them. I believe I can run this race."

When the race started, the pros quickly left Cliff behind. The crowds and television audience were entertained because Cliff didn't even run properly; he appeared to shuffle. Many even feared for the old farmer's safety.

All of the professional athletes knew that it took about 5 days to finish the race. In order to compete, one had to run about 18 hours a day and sleep the remaining 6 hours. The thing is, Cliff Young didn't know that!

When the morning of the second day came, everyone was in for another surprise. Not only was Cliff still in the race, he had continued jogging all night.

Eventually Cliff was asked about his tactics for the rest of the race. To everyone's disbelief, he claimed he would run straight through to the finish without sleeping.

Cliff kept running. Each night he came a little closer to the leading pack. By the final night, he had surpassed all of the young, world-class athletes. He was the first competitor to cross the finish line and he set a new course record.

When Cliff was awarded the winning prize of $10,000, he said he didn't know there was a prize
and insisted that he did not enter for the money. He ended up giving all of his winnings to several other runners, an act that endeared him to all of Australia.

Cliff Young waving during ultra marathon

Scrubs' version of Charlie Brown Christmas

December 21, 2008

Kelly McNutt

Kelly McNutt was the animation director on this funny little spot for It was produced traditionally, and then composited in After Effects. Great simple animation! Awesome commercial! Via Lineboil

Burger King Unveils Meat-Scented Cologne

NEW YORK -- Fast food chain Burger King has released a new body spray for men that, according to its Web site, is "the scent of seduction with a hint of flame-broiled mean."

The body spray, called "Flame," is being sold a Rickey's -- a New York City retailer -- and on the Web for a mere $4.00 per bottle.

"Flame by BK captures the essence of that love and gives it to you. Behold... now you can set the mood for whatever you're in the mood for," the Burger King site proclaims.

Tales of Tinkerdee - The amazing an unaired pilot of a fairy tale kingdom narrated by Kermit

December 18, 2008


Looking for animation students or newly minted animators who would like to get their feet wet.

The feature documentary is about a teen led secret society and underground
magazine during WWII and has a lot of creative elements that need
animating. The animator will be working with a great, award winning
production team in Silver Lake, CA.

Apply to this address:

Paste the resume in the body of
your email. Please include your availability and any links to work you have


Sr Animator for a major game studio in Montreal ! position open NOW!

We are looking for a SR Animator for a major studio in Montreal. The candidate should have at least 4-5 years of animation experience, we will prefer game experience but could consider strong movie experience.

Environment is Maya, salary is open depending on the candidate and the the position is OPEN NOW !

Please apply at


3D character animation

We are looking for 3D character animation support for a series of children's DVD's we are producing. These would be used in combination of full 3D environment and/or with live action. About 10 minutes of finished screen time per video. If interested, please send me your info and samples of your work. Like most producers, budget and quality are of key concern.

Send to


Blue Sky Studios is Hiring

BlueSky Studio (Iceage, Robots, and Horton Hears a Who) is currently hiring for the following positions:

Storyboard Artist:

Materials TD:

Character Designer:


3D Feature Film Character Artist:

Cloth TD:

Please send resume to . Please put “Linkedin” in the subject heading.

FOX Network 2D Animator/Artist Work Opportunity!


Established writing/directing team seeks talented 2D animator to bring life to a series of shorts for the FOX network. The animator would be working closely with the director/producers off of storyboards and character designs that are currently in development. Though the budget is not yet set, this is a PAID gig, as well as a great showcase opportunity for the animator to have their work seen by the heads of animation at FOX (and the world at large). Both established animators and rising stars are encouraged to apply. Talent, enthusiasm, the ability to take direction and meet strict deadlines are essential qualities to be considered. Production would most likely begin in January or early February, 2009.

Interested parties should send links to their online portfolios:
Put in the subject line: ANIMATION.
Inquiries that do not include working links to online portfolios will be deleted.

Get Freelance Work with your online Portfolio / Demo Reel

The five FREE websites you MUST register to:

-Upload your animation demo reel here.

-Upload designs and sketches here, and embed your demo reel from YouTube. This website will be what you can show to employers and clients to give them an immediate sample of your art and animation.

Linked In
-Build you resume here, start making connections with friends and past employers to stay in contact with potential work, place the link to this profile on to your blog.

-The top freelance animation/illustration newsgroup, make a living searching for and bidding on contracts and projects during your spare time or as a full time job. Click on the 'Freelancers' tab and get registered, display samples of your work by showing clients your blog which showcases your artwork, a link to your demo reel, and has your detailed resume.

-The fastest and easiest way for a client to safely pay you directly to your banking account with just an e-mail address.

Go to each one of these sites and create a new account (if you haven't already).
Try to keep the same e-mail, username, password for all of them, so do you don't forget how to log in later.

Put together a 2-3 minute showreel.
Show you're best stuff FIRST, your second best stuff last, and everything else in between.
Place your name and e-mail at the start and end.
Emphasize your strengths, make sure your demo reel is relevant to the job you want. If you're applying as a character animator don't send your YouTube reel that has all your compositing work. Focus on your strengths, if you are not good at modeling, get stock models and concentrate on animation. If you're strength is 3D character design, don't show off your mediocre animation skills, show the stages and process of your modeling skills.
For character animation, show how you can do lip sync and exaggerated character acting.
Show some variety, Flash symbol animation, classical animation, Toonboom, and/or 3D clips. If you only have tests and exercises in traditional animation or just Maya, that's fine, show only the best stuff. A one minute reel with good character acting is better than 4 minutes of all the stuff you've ever done.
Show you can display emotions with subtle facial animation and strong acting principles ... it's all in the eyes.
Show diversity with different design styles.
Don't have a slideshow of your figure drawings.
Don't do a chronological work history.
Don't include work in progress.
Don't ask for feedback.
Don't include early tests and tutorials.
Remember, your employer sees a lot of demo reels, keep it moving, learn to trim and cut your shots tightly.
Only do a slide show of artwork if you are tailoring a demo reel to showcase design and paint work for an employer. Fine art, BG color keys, character color models are fine, but a simple blog could showcase these images in a better way than a low resolution video clip.

More Character Animation Demo Tips:

Tutorial for rendering for YouTube with Adobe Premiere CS3:

How to embed your YouTube Demo Reel into your blog:

Best formats that YouTube accepts:
* Video Format: H.264, MPEG-2 or MPEG-4 preferred
* Aspect Ratio: Native aspect ratio without letterboxing (examples: 4:3, 16:9)
* Resolution: 640x360 (16:9) or 720x486 (4:3)
* Audio Format: MP3 or AAC preferred
* Frames per second: 30
* Maximum length: 10 minutes
* Maximum file size: 1 GB

If you're rendering from Flash to YouTube, here's some suggestions ...

Render Flash file from PC (3 Options):
No Quicktime Options.
- Use AVI, raise the Quality to as high as you can go
(the file will be HUGE so watch out), test it,
it may have glitches in the render.
- Use Image Sequence
(PNG, TGA, PIC) Quality is perfectly preserved and
the dimensions rendered are usually quite large.
Import all the images as a batch in a video editing software
like After Effects to re-render as a Quicktime.
- Use SWF format
Enables a fast and easy render, small file (no audio),
limited range of render size, allows for a fast and simple
upload to an After Effects timeline to be rasterized and

Render Flash file from Mac (2 Options):
- Quicktime Video - Animation Compression (high)
render size is unlimited, quality is the best.
Re-render through Quicktime Pro
H264 - 2000 kb/s - 1000 keyframes - Same dimensions,
So that ANY video player (on any other computer) can read the file.
- Use Image Sequence
(PNG, JPG, PIC) Quality is perfectly preserved and
the dimensions rendered out are at any size you wish.
It will have to be imported, compiled and re-rendered through After Effects or any video editing software that can batch import sequential images and re-export at the correct frame rate.

Fill out all the info on your profile, this is your new online digital resume, you can be as detailed as you want, get past employers, co-workers or instructors to recommend you.

Start uploading your figure drawings, rough character models, polished/colored character and background designs, and any other sketches, paintings, prop designs, concept art, and illustrations.
Categorize them, organize them, play with the settings and the look of your blog. This is the simplest and easiest way to show an employer your art style and designs online.
Add a link in the sidebar to your LinkedIn profile (showing your work history and specialties).
Now add in your YouTube demo reel. Copy paste the embed code into a new post and BAM! You're done.

How to embed your YouTube Demo Reel into your blog:

Tips on customizing your blog:

Now you are ready to e-mail a single link ( to any potential employer via e-mail, and that site will have samples of your work, a point-and-click demo reel and a link to your resume.
Update all four accounts as you get jobs completed, it builds experience and can keep you busy while you find a more full-time and long-term contract in a studio or through online clients/employers.

Sign up for an account through paypal, it sometimes takes a few days or even weeks to register since the company must go through the process to ensure you are actually who you say you are and to varify your information. Once it's complete and all setup, you can request getting paid directly through paypal for any freelance job.

There's many freelance-oriented websites for graphic designers, illustrators, CG artists and animation artists of all types. Guru is just one of many. If you are a photographer, a account may be all you need to showcase samples of your work online. Search on Guru for work in your chosen field, comb through all the sub-categories and find clients that have jobs for the skills you have. Comic book coloring, designs for an animated commercial, storyboards for a music video, logos for an advertising firm, Photoshop effects for some web graphics, 3D models for an online game, the list is endless. Once you have a few successful projects completed your reputation builds up as a reliable source of art or animation.

Once registerd you will get daily e-mails displaying recent job requests from new posts made in your chosen field and categories.

Tip #1: Look at the Employer’s statistics.
Review the Employer’s statistics to learn about his / her history.
Does the Employer have the highest available feedback rating, 5-stars,
from other Freelancers?
How much money has the Employer paid to other Freelancers?
How many invoices has the Employer paid to other Freelancers?
How many outstanding invoices does the Employer have?
Employers with zero outstanding invoices pay their Freelancers on time

Tip #2: Don’t begin work without a Project Award.
An Employer may say you have the project, but unless you receive a
Project Award you have not officially been granted the work on Ask an Employer to send you a Project Award in order to:
Improve your Customer Acquisition Rate (CAR) and ultimately your
Rank in the search results. You must be awarded a project and paid
for it through the SafePay system for it to count toward your
CAR. Obtain the necessary information to bill the Employer through
SafePay Invoicing or SafePay Escrow. Reduce the risk of not being
paid for the work you have done.

Tip #3: Upload an Online Project Agreement.
A Project Agreement allows both parties to identify and agree on their
expectations for the project. Taking the time to outline the basic Project
Agreement greatly reduces the potential for disputes. Learn how to
upload an online Project Agreement:

The online Project Agreement form allows you to:
Upload a comprehensive Project Plan document (.doc, .txt, etc.) that
defines your project’s details, scope, and payment terms. Create your
Project Plan offline with your Employer and upload it to the Project
Agreement area once it’s complete.

List short Project Milestones —
enter delivery (due) dates and payment amounts to help both you and
your Employer follow a project timeline.

Upload Change Orders to the original Project Plan and Project
Milestones as needed.
Tip #4: Use SafePay Escrow. Avoid Unpaid Invoices.
If you’re about to work with a new Employer, SafePay Escrow can
lower your risk. With SafePay Escrow, you can request that your
Employer deposit 100% of the payment upfront before beginning to work
on the project. This upfront investment shows that an Employer to show
you that he or she is serious about getting the project done.

The Employer deposits the funds in a neutral Escrow account. When the
project is completed and delivered in accordance with your online Project
Agreement, the Employer releases the funds to you.

If a dispute occurs during the project, will mediate the dispute.
If a satisfactory agreement cannot be met through mediation, an
arbitrator will review the case and award the escrowed funds accordingly.

More SafePay Information:
How to identify and avoid fraudulent employers:
Alternative document for showcasing your goodies on the web - ArtDojo's Getting Online Free & Simple:

In my opinion this is the easiest way to apply to studios for contract work or to clients for freelance work. Whether you're applying for a job to the company's HR person, producer, director, production manager, recruiting officer, or publisher. No hassle, no DVDs, and no big clumsy expensive printed booklets need to be made.

Send your web address to the e-mail of the person hiring, now it's in their hands, point-and-click easy to use.

The Beautiful Art of Kelly Hamilton