September 30, 2015

September 29, 2015

No More Questions!

September 28, 2015

Blade Runner: The Flipside of Modernity

Tako Faito! by Giant Ant Studios

-- Breakdown of the process --
First Panel: Rough Key Poses/Layout
Second Panel: Rough Breakdowns & Inbetweens
Third Panel: Tie Downs/Overlap/Follow-Thru
Fourth Panel: Clean-up & Color

September 22, 2015

Weird Simpsons VHS

Directed and animated by Yoann Hervo
with the help of Hugo Moreno
Sound design by Florian Calmer
Music by Valentin Ducloux
This opening is just a small part of a collaboration project made up by Charles Huettner, Ivan Dixon and James Hatley.
The original idea was to invite some animators to produce, in their own style, a short story in the Simpsons universe.
Despite the fact that the project hasn't been achieved, I wanted to finish what I started.

O2 - Make Them Giants

10 ‘Batman: The Animated Series’ Facts to Prove You Are Vengeance, You Are The Night

September 18, 2015

Gargoyles: Awakening

This animated series from 1994 still holds up quite well.
Much darker and more mature in content from the usual Disney shows of the time. After re-watching it recently I was surprised how well structured the plots are and well developed the characters were. This 5 part pilot episode stretched out to a feature length of 2.5 hours and cover a lot of ground quite well; introducing you to a large cast of characters and multiple timelines.

Gargoyles features a species of nocturnal creatures known as gargoyles that turn to stone during the day. After spending a thousand years in a petrified state, the gargoyles (who have been transported from medieval Scotland) are reawakened in modern-day New York City, and take on roles as the city's secret night-time protectors.

The show is a mixture of urban and medieval fantasy within a science-fiction/action/adventure genre. The writing is surprisingly engaging, and the animation is a style that is since long-gone, like a more squash and stretch version of Young Justice. You don't see this classic Disney/Japanese, high-quality 90s era of traditional-paper-and-pencil animation too often anymore.

The series was critically acclaimed and is noted for its relatively dark tone, complex story lines, Shakespearean themes, large cast of celebrity voice actors, and its character arcs that were heavily employed throughout the series.

Film Fanatic Friday: The Director’s Chair – Francis Ford Coppola

September 16, 2015

Advice from Bob Camp

Bob Camp is an animator, cartoonist, comic book artist, director, and producer. Camp has been nominated for two Emmys, a CableACE Award, and an Annie Award for his work on The Ren & Stimpy Show. These writing and drawing lessons and opinions came from his old blog.

Short Cartoon Writing Tips!
OK, here are my ideas about writing a funny 11 minute TV cartoon.

Most important!
Know your characters and how they relate to one other. Take any great comedy team and you'll find that the humor is based on the personality of each character and the dynamics with the other characters.

When writing cartoons, do not exclude cartoonists from the process! Writers are great and all but they cannot draw a funny expression or work out the poses and timing necessary to make a funny cartoon. Believe it or not there are lots of really funny cartoonists that write funny too!
Imagine if writers wrote the great Termite Terrace 40's and 50's era Warners cartoons and Bob, Chuck and the boys were excluded from the process and forced to work from scripts.

Now I'm not dissing writers here. They are a huge important part of the industry and deserve as much credit and support as anybody on the crew. Unless they suck.

Use outlines and not scripts. This leaves the storyboard artist (who in my mind is really directing the artistic vision of the cartoon) room for his or her mind to work out the funniest gags for the cartoon and write dialogue that fits the gag not the other way around.
If you must use scripts then NEVER write more than 11 pages for an 11 minute cartoon.

Do your self a favor and watch the funniest 7 or 11minute cartoons you can think of.
Watch each one over and over with a notepad and a stop watch. Note each sequence paying attention to it's purpose (like setup, gag, payoff etc.). Note the type of gags and how the comedy pays off. Is the reveal funny? How does timing make the joke work, or not.
You will begin to see patterns that are typical to an individual studio, director, story artist and animator. Watch old 2 reel shorts like Laurel and Hardy, the Stooges too. It's what I grew up watching and I learned so much about comedy from them,

When writing an 11 minute cartoon, don't get all wound up in plots, secondary plots and too many characters. This is no way to make a funny cartoon. Keep it simple! Avoid stereotypes and tired old ideas.

Come up with a funny idea. If the initial idea isn't funny then don't bother going forward with it.
Write down about 20 one line ideas.
Stimpy's invention- Stimpy is an inventor. His latest invention makes Ren really mad. Stimpy must invent a helmet that makes Ren happy against his nature.
Stimpy's Chicken- Stimpy falls in love with the chicken that he was preparing for Ren's dinner. He elopes with the chicken and Ren is tortured with Hunger and jealousy.

Now you get the four or five funniest bastards (who all have lists of one line ideas) into the same room and go at it coming up with gags and making quick sketches and laughing their asses off. We used to rent a suite at the Chateau Marmont in Hollywood for a week and write the whole season. That was fun!

You have your idea for the cartoon. Now you go through all of the gags and lay them out eliminating the least funny. Start with the setup, put the best gags in order building to the funniest and ending in a ironic funny ending.
Set-up, series of gags, ironic pay-off.

Don't be satisfied with something that is only amusing keep bouncing ideas around until you are actually laughing outloud.

Type it up into about 3 or 4 pages and let the storyboard artist do his job.

Afterward it's good to pin up the board so the director can work on fine-tuning the gags with the other board artists helping out. Always be open to upping the comedy at every level. A funny board can be made ten times funnier by pushing character layoutout and animation. The acting and adlibs that the voice actor came up pushed the comedy again!

Notes on character design and posing.

Here are a few quick character studies for proportion, style and movement.
Gotta do lots of drawing to bring a character to life!

I hope this helps, enjoy!

September 15, 2015

The Innovations of Fleischer Studios

Besides changing the face of animation by bringing the world the invention of the Rotoscope, as well as the concept and animation technique of “Follow the Bouncing Ball” sing-alongs, Max Fleischer and his studio also pioneered a revolutionary technique in animation, known as the “Stereoptical Process”.

In this process, a circular, 3-D model of a background - a diorama - is built to the scale of the animation cells. It allowed for a spectacular sense of depth and dimension, long before Ub Iwerks came up with the Multiplane. Within the model setup, the animation cells could be placed at varying levels from the scenery, and even between objects, so that foreground elements could pass in front of them, adding to the dimensional effect. It was an effective method for panning and tracking shots, which would require a turn of the table with each photographed cell of animation.
The process was used in many of the studio’s cartoons, particularly in their longer, “two-reel” shorts, such as Popeye the Sailor Meets Sindbad the Sailor (1936), Popeye the Sailor Meets Ali Baba’s Forty Thieves (1937), and Betty Boop in Poor Cinderella (1934) - the only color (albeit in two-strip Cinecolor), theatrical cartoon ever made starring the iconic animated songstress, which features her as a redhead!

September 11, 2015

Step into the Page

For nearly four decades at Disney, Glen Keane animated some the most compelling characters of our time: Ariel from The Little Mermaid, the titular beast in Beauty and the Beast, and Disney’s Tarzan, to name just a few. The son of cartoonist Bil Keane (The Family Circus), Glen learned early on the importance of holding onto your childhood creativity—and how art can powerfully convey emotion. Keane has spent his career embracing new tools, from digital environments to 3D animation to today’s virtual reality, which finally enables him to step into his drawings and wander freely through his imagination. At FoST, he'll explore how to tap into your own creativity, connecting to emotion and character more directly than ever before. Witness him creating sculptural animation drawings using the Steam VR Tiltbrush.

Film Fanatic Friday: The Director's Chair – Guillermo del Toro

ANL#1 by Nathan Love

'But Milk is Important' by Anna Mantzaris and Eirik Grønmo Bjørnsen

"A man with social phobia gets followed by a naive and clumsy creature..."

See the production blog here.

Animation Analysis on 'Perfect Blue'