Disney’s upcoming animated film Big Hero 6, about a boy and his soft robot (and a gang of super-powered friends), is perhaps the largest big-budget mash-up you’ll ever see. Every aspect of the film’s production represents a virtual collision of worlds. The story, something co-director Don Hall calls “one of the more obscure titles in the Marvel universe,” has been completely re-imagined for parent company Disney. Then, there’s the city of San Fransokyo it’s set in — an obvious marriage of two of the most tech-centric cities in the world. And, of course, there’s the real-world technology that not only takes center stage as the basis for characters in the film, but also powered the onscreen visuals. It’s undoubtedly a herculean effort from Walt Disney Animation Studios, and one that’s likely to go unnoticed by audiences. Continue reading…
Article by Fred Patten via IndieWire.com
Every year Ron Diamond, the founder of Hollywood’s Acme Filmworks animation studio (specializing in animated television commercials), puts together an Animation Show of Shows, consisting of his pick of about a hundred minutes’ worth – a dozen or so — of the best animated short films of the year, from those shown around the world at international film festivals, for presentation at over forty major animation studios and schools in California, Oregon, and Washington (Disney, DreamWorks, Pixar, Sony Pictures, Illumination, ILM, UCLA Animation Workshop, San Jose State University, ASIFA chapters in Hollywood, Portland, Seattle, etc.), several East Coast states, and selected locations around the world. The winner of the following year’s Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film has often been included on an Animation Show of Shows program. Continue reading…
These examples of experimental design are all pushing the boundaries of technology. Take a glimpse into the future of design…
It’s fair to say that designers are fascinated by technology. But it isn’t the tech itself that’s of interest – it’s what can be achieved via experimental design.
Whether for commercial purposes or personal projects, here we look at some fantastic examples of how designers have pushed technologies and platforms into new, and often unexpected directions – all creating amazing work in the process.
Revolution is an animated short by photographer Chris Turner, paper engineer Helen Friel and animator Jess Deacon that explores the life cycle of a single drop of water through the pages of an elaborate pop-up book. The book contains nine scenes that were animated using 1,000 photographic stills shot over the course of a year.
I had the great honor of meeting Mr. Pojar while studying in the Czech Republic last summer. The mechanics of his puppets are stunning and ingenious and his animations heartfelt. I thought that Cartoon Brew had a nice compilation of his work (shown below), so please take a moment and enjoy.
One of the giants of 20th century animation, Czech animator and director Břetislav Pojar, died last Friday evening [link to story in Czech newspaper]. He was 89. After studying architecture in college, Pojar started his animation career in the early-1940s. He was among the first group of artists to work at the state-run Studio Bratri v triku in Prague. There, he met Jiří Trnka, and in the mid-1940s, he left with Trnka to start a new animation studio. Pojar became Trnka’s key animator on numerous puppet shorts in the late-1940s and early-1950s, including Story of the Bass Cello, The Emperor’s Nightingale, and Old Czech Legends. Even after Pojar became a director, he continued to animate on Trnka’s later films like A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Continue reading…
Another beautiful hand drawn film in development in Europe, this one being directed by our friends Adrian Garcia, Alfredo Torres and Victor Maldonado at Barcelona-based Headless Productions (Nocturna), produced by Paris-based Nectarious Films. Look below to see the teaser trailer for My Family And The Wolf.
I had absolutely no idea how big the models were (for Harry Potter) until seeing this article, Wow!
Ever since the first Harry Potter novel was released almost 15 years ago, children and adults alike have fantasised about visiting its famous boarding school for wizards and witches.
But, as these incredible pictures show, they need to dream no longer.
Whether you show magic ability or not – fans now have the opportunity to get as close to Hogwarts Castle as they are ever likely to get.
This extraordinary model of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is due to go on display for the first time.
I remember hearing this on NPR and how quirky it was – it still makes me smile, so I figured I’d share.
by Maria Popova
For over 80 years, scientists have been trying to resolve a great mystery: Why can’t humans walk straight? Without a visible guidepoint like the sun or the moon or a mountain top in sight, we seem to go around in circles — quite literally. Here, NPR correspondent Robert Krulwich distills decades of inconclusive research, with the help of animator Benjamin Arthur.
There are countless experiments throughout history to test this curious quirk.
In 1920s, a young scientist asked a friend to walk across a field in a straight line, blindfolded. But here’s what the friend did:
In 1928, three men left a barn on a very foggy day and set out to walk to a point a mile away, straight ahead. Instead, this is how their journey went:
Also in 1928, a man was blindfolded, then asked to jump into a lake and swim straight to the other side. Here’s what he ended up doing:
When a man was asked to get in a car and drive straight across an empty Kansas field, he did the following:
There is, apparently, a profound inability in humans to stick to a straight line when blindfolded.” ~ Robert Krulwich
And while this particular mystery might not yet have an answer, on the subject of fascinating factoids from the folks at NPR, don’t forget the excellent All Facts Considered — an answers-laden compendium of curiosities from NPR’s endearing, librarianly librarian.
A tad bit headache inducing, but really fun at the same time…
Wonder how folks were entertaining themselves before the dawn of the animated GIF? In 1861, it was with stereograms, a pair of still photographs of an identical subject, shot from slightly different angles to mimic the vantage point of the left and right eye. Viewed through a stereoscope, the final image appeared in 3D. A discovery made by NYPL patron, Joshua Heineman unearthed that these stereographs could be converted into a modern, digital form of entertainment à la the GIF.
Four years ago, during his final year in college, Heineman uncovered the 19th century GIF. He explains:
One evening in my final year of college, I was downloading digital snapshots to my laptop when I got a fleeting sense of 3D as the preview screen flicked quickly between two similar shots. I located the individual photos and flipped back and forth between them continually. The parallax effect of minor changes between the two perspectives created a sustained sense of dimension that approximated the effect of stereo viewing. When I realized how the effect was working, I set about discovering if I could capture the same illusion by layering both sides of an old stereograph in Photoshop and displaying the result as an animated gif. The result was more jarring and more shallow than through a stereoscope but no less magic.
The resulting images culminated in the Reaching For The Out Of Reach art project for Heineman’s blog. The NYPL Labs embraced the idea, and partnered with Heineman to create the Stereogranimator, an interface that allows you to make your own GIFS and 3D anaglyphs from the Library’s collection of 40,000 digitized stereographs. The appeal of the project is its ability to meld the past and present in a contemporary way, by retaining the original spirit of the stereogram–because after all that format was as revolutionary for the still image as GIFs are today.
Please visit Stereogranimator to see more.
These are always fun to revisit. (And it’s nice to note that not all animation looks like Disney’s.)
by Margaret Eby
Wilco’s new video for “Dawned on Me” combines some of the things dearest to our hearts: Jeff Tweedy and old black-and-white Popeye shorts. It’s a clip that’s both fun and visually interesting, not to mention the first hand-drawn Popeye cartoon that’s appeared in the last 30-something years. But Wilco is far from the first band to hit upon the idea of including animation in their music videos. Cartoons in videos stretch back from the days of a-ha’s “Take On Me” through Björk and Radiohead. After the jump, check out ten of the best animated music videos we’ve ever seen — tell us about your personal favorites in the comments.
“Take On Me” by a-ha
A-ha’s pencil-sketched 1985 “Take On Me” clip was one of the first animated music videos to air on MTV. It’s also the one we watched multiple times throughout our teen years.
“Leave Me Alone” by Michael Jackson
Jackson’s “Leave Me Alone” takes his tabloid stardom literally, as the King of Pop sings the song from the front pages of various newspapers with blaring headlines about his surgeries and his relationship with Elizabeth Taylor. (Note the shrines to Liz you can see in his trailer home.)
“Paranoid Android” by Radiohead
The video for “Paranoid Android” was illustrated by Swedish artist Magnus Carlsson. Apparently he came up with the idea for it after locking himself in his office for 12 hours, staring out the window, and listening to the song on repeat. Now it all makes sense.
“Fell in Love With a Girl” by the White Stripes
Director Michel Gondry shot this LEGO-tastic animation frame by frame, building the scenes out of the colorful toy blocks by hand. Apparently LEGO refused to strike a deal to provide their product to the White Stripes, informing Gondry that they don’t advertise to people over the age of 12.
“Ankle Injuries” by Fujiya & Miyagi
This Fujiya & Miyagi video borrows a little bit from Gondry’s idea, using shots of dice arranged to make pictures. It’s a striking animation, and the portraits formed by the dots are uncanny.
“Wanderlust” by Björk
Björk has quite a few animated videos, but our favorite is this beautiful one for “Wanderlust,” shot in stereoscopic 3D. The video uses a combination of puppetry and animation to make a scene fit or a fairy tale — or a Björk song, anyway.
“Move Your Feet” by Junior Senior
The art collective Shynola made this pixelated animation for Junior Senior, playing off video game structure and traditional cartoon slapstick with the help of a frenetic squirrel.
“One More Time” by Daft Punk
Though the animation in Daft Punk’s “One More Time” wasn’t created specifically for the band — the scenes are cribbed from anime film Insterstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem — it seems like a completely appropriate complement to their work.
“My Drive Thru” by Santigold, Casabancas, and N.E.R.D.
This video was part of a Converse campaign, yes, but the work that the artists did to make it appear as if the musicians are unfolding like so many paper dolls or flip-book figures took 10,000 cut-outs and something like four months to achieve. Plus, it looks incredible.
“I Can Hear the Trains Coming” by Mathieu Santos
Ra Ra Riot’s Mathieu Santos worked with director Albert Birney to create this animation, which feels part-video game, part-Candyland dreamscape inhabited by sharks.