Archive for December, 2009

New Years Resolution #1: Animate Every Day (to complete Roshambo)

Resolution: I will animate EVERY DAY until Roshambo is done.

Roshambo has a lot of work left to be done; here’s how I plan to tackle the project’s remaining tasks. I have made a grid of boxes of all the remaining animation tasks vs. color code of the difficulty (two characters contacting each other, vs a moving hold, etc. ):

I will pick a square (or two) and perform that task every day. Some days I’ll only have 2-3 hours so I’ll take on an easy task like going from layout to blocking. On days where I have more time, I will tackle a more demanding box or boxes. I need to do as many boxes a day as I can because if I add up the box count right now it’s over 6 months of work left to do!! I don’t have that kind of time. So I’m going to shorten and speed up some shots. and double up tasks on the weekends. I’ve already started. And need to animate a little today.

And when I don’t feel like animating at all, I’ll rig or play the ukulele. Or go out and record some foley.
I have another grid for rigging tasks and sound tasks that is not shown.
When Roshambo is done — and it will get done — I have another project that is an even more insane amount of work. So this is just practice for the big one.

Related resolution:
Learn and record 12 Christmas songs for the ukulele. Send it out as a Christmas gift 2010. I’ll post the MP3s here in December 2010.

December 31st, 2009

AnimationMentor is done!

Two years later and my journey is complete… almost.

Graduation is on Jan 16th, 2010. And There’s still the short to finish.

    Roshambo Update:

I’m 50% done. many scenes are in layout,blocking, blocking+,refining, and only a few have received polish. it’s at 2:20 seconds right now, but I plan on cutting some of the slow stuff at the beginning.

Scoring the short:
So I put an ad on craigslist looking for someone to score my film with some Hawaiian music. Something simple – just a ukulele and a steel guitar. Of the hundreds of responses, there were some awesome candidates (sorry for not picking one of you guys), a lot of unqualified responses, a robot, and one supreme jackass who recorded some bad generic Hawaiian music, then tried to force me to buy it-without talking to me, without any direction, without my approval to begin work… He used a crappy synth to generate some lame 3 chord Hawaiian music with overdone drums and nothing flowed.Then threatened to sue me if I used it without paying.

So laying in bed shortly after this hilarious incident, I decided to pull it off myself with a ukulele! So I went and bought a tenor ukulele and started strumming. I’m hooked! This thing is so much fun to play. I’ve only had it about three weeks, but I can sing and play at the same time very easily. I’ve never been able to do that with any other instrument (I play bass, and used to play trumpet)! I’ve been learning a bunch of Beatles tunes to practice chords. I am addicted to it.

The best part is the sound will be exactly what I’m willing to settle for. I’m a control freak.

December 28th, 2009

Sleeping Beauty was meant for blu-ray

sleeping beauty blu ray
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.
Eyvind Earle was the production designer and background painter on this film.
His website has a great quicktime with him narrating his life story:
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.

Add comment December 4th, 2009

Dean Wellins came to IMD to talk “Story”

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….

December 4th, 2009


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