From Cube to Character I’m giving a presentation on June 26th at the Exploratorium! My presentation will be geared toward kids (of course) to explain what ‘geometry’ is. I’m going to explain how a poly cube becomes a character (Bishop from AnimationMentor), and then show how it is rigged (without going down the rabbit hole on that topic).
Then show briefly some reference video, several animation passes, then the final rendered version. Explaining how triangles are everything in 3D!
The goal is to get all the kids and adults excited about math and geometry.If I can create a link to their favorite 3D cartoon character(s) they can see how math and geometry are an important part of art and entertainment today. Goal accomplished.
Special thanks to Bobby Beck at AnimationMentor for letting me use Bishop as an example for all the kiddies!
Why? Because DVD doesn’t have the resolution to do this film justice!
I recently watched Sleeping Beauty on blu-ray and it’s magnificent in it’s originally 1:2.85 dimensions. I don’t care if the colors don’t match the colors of the original 70mm print 100% or not. I know — blasphemy. Some have done comparisons in their reviews, but the color was amazing regardless. It’s truly dazzling. I also think this is better than the DVD because DVD doesn’t have enough resolution to show all the detail in the the backgrounds. and if you letterboxed a DVD to match the original dimensions, you would lose even more. But wait… there’s more. BACKGROUNDS: Eyvind Earle was the production designer and background painter on this film. His website has a great quicktime with him narrating his life story:http://www.eyvindearle.com/video_my_life.aspx watching it I discovered I share the same birthday as Earle’s mother. She was a concert pianist. — September 21st!
This was the first time Walt had put someone in charge of the whole look of the entire movie. Ironically, Earle had applied to Disney 10 years earlier and was not hired.There is a lot to put here about Eyvind Earle. He passed away in 2000 at 84 years of age but his work is even better toward the end of his life. but I’ll tell you…
How do I know all this trivia? Because of a great blu-ray feature called, Cine-Explore. it’s like a commentary, but with video inserts. John Lasseter,Andreas Deja, and Leonard Maltin explain all the ins and outs of this movie with never-before-seen documentary film and images from the Disney archives.. Lasseter and Deja both work/ed at Disney as animators and knew many of the animators who worked on this film. Deja lived a few doors down from one of Disney’s favorite voice actresses, the one who voiced the Malificent (Lady Tremaine in Cinderella), Eleanor Audley and she told him stories about how she first declined the role because of health concerns… etc.
In the Bob Thomas book, The History of Disney Animation, he only had a small 1 pager on Sleeping Beauty and how it was a financial debacle at 6 years and $6million to make. And considered a flop. Very little was discussed about the film in terms of the animation process. Sleeping Beauty was the last hand-inked film they made. Would you believe it took a whole day to ink a single frame?!? That’s why after Sleeping Beauty they went to the Xerox method, see 101 Dalmations. So this blu-ray was a wonderful historical peek into what I think was the most beautiful of the classic Disney masterpieces.
Everything I put in this post is in the Cine-Explore commentary. Just go get the blu-ray and watch it! Especially if you’re an animation geek like me.
Dean Wellins came to IMD to talk to the animators about story. He was co-directing Rapunzel recently and now is working on a short at Disney in Burbank. There were a few technical difficulties, but he winged it until we got the visuals working. He had some great lines about story like “Its about strong personalities and their traits or idiosyncrasies causing conflict”, “very few, if any, movies exist where the main character didn’t have a strong personality.” I can think of a Cohen brother’s film starring Billy Bob Thornton that comes very close, but I think he’s right.
He showed some clips from Road to Perdition and Amadeus that he thought were brilliant ways to introduce a character or show a character discovering something. From Amadeus he showed the scene where Salieri first meets Mozart as a womanizing lowlife that can speak backwards and how the truck into Salieri’s facial expression when he realizes ‘this is Mozart!?!’ was the perfect cap to the scene.
The Road to Perdition scenes were about the little boy discovering his dad is a killer for the mob by 1. seeing a gun and 2.witnessing a murder. He also showed the editing in the warehouse murder scene…how the pacing increases as if the heartbeat of the boy is accelerating. then during the first murder of some gangster it’s in slow motion and then we hear him take in a breath.
In all I wish we could have had him for about 3-4 hours. I think it’s very important for animators and filmmakers to think ’story’ all the time. I never received any good lectures at San Francisco State about story. wished I did….
I wish to thank Jimmy Almeida (AnimationMentor Alumni) and Oz Gani (Animator at IMD) for helping me out with filming some reference footage. I edited together the best bits IMHO. here they are. let me know what you think. the comments section is turned off so you’ll have to email me.
My only concern is that now it’s getting a bit longer… by about 20 seconds.
Now that A Christmas Carol is done, I can spend more time doing my final piece for AM!
just to keep in standing with other students at the school, I’ll post my stuff, but if you steal it, I friggen kill you. seriously. I will kill you. I watch Dexter; I know how to do it right. I would love feedback. but the comments section always ends up with spam so just email me some comments using the contact form.
Here is the layout stage as it stands now. the music is just stand-in for mood. I’m still looking for the Hawaiian themed music for each section:
I love candy. What you see here is my diet for this month.
When I get done watching these “pixel piles of pop-culture porn” I will write a self-indulgent review complete with video clips and… nah. I’m too busy lazy. in fact, this entry is an act of procrastination. I don’t feel like animating and my gout(see wiki if you care) is acting up. I just want to fling myself into bed, in my cold-ass house, and watch these wonderful works of art. I’m also watching Louis CK’s “Chewed Up”. I don’t feel like scanning the DVD cover… yet another act of procrastination.
Why do I feel the walls of professionalism crumbling…
I dunno. kinda tired right now. lots of work. lots of AnimationMentor. Not a lot of health. It’s better than my last pass but I almost destroyed myself with sitting at the computer for hours upon hours doing my job and this school. goddam I’m tired a lot. Okay. back to work.
There is an opening sequence with Bolt as a puppy, that is inspirational and emotional. It was animated by Becky Wilson Bresee, Within seconds you’re in love with this puppy. That scene has stuck with me and a few of my friends at AM.
The pigeon animation style was so hilarious. My mentor, Mike Belzer did some of the california pigeons. I want to see more of them on the Blu-Ray on in a sequel.
Overall,the story was good and there were a lot of great shots. There was some fantastic character animation. And of course…. RHINO… the most entertaining character (besides Kung Fu Panda and the Vulture from Horton) I’ve seen animated in a long time.
Mark Walton, a story guy at Disney, who does the voice of Rhino, was perfect. I’m glad they didn’t ditch him for some Hollowwood face. I saw it in Real 3D. I Highly recommend it. It’s much better being able to feel the distances during the action sequences.
Also striking were the environments. Very few people get credit for amazing environments; they usually get overlooked. But in many scenes they really help set the mood. Especially the cardboard boxes in a weedy dirt lot in Vegas where Mittens wants to build a life for her new friends. That dirt lot was incredibly depressing and lead into a strong emotional moment where we learn why Mittens is the way she is.