Monday, February 25, 2008

Oscar. Agree to disagree.

Well, last night Tiff and I along with 100billion something other viewers across the world watched the Oscars. I must say that John Steward was a great host this year and the Wii tennis game on stage was awesome! I was really happy for "Big Bird" and the Pixar crew for their Best Animated Feature win for Rats but greatly disappointed in the Academy's choice for Best Animated Short Film "Peter and the Wolf". I thought the story for "Peter and the Wolf" was ok but the ending was lackluster. You can see the short on one of my earlier posts here. I personally was pulling for Alexander Petrov's "My Love" because of it's story, creative difficulty, and artistic beauty. I felt Petrov was snubbed by the Academy but this isn't the first time my artistic tastes have differed from the "House of Oscar" nor will it be the last. I am happy Daniel Day Lewis got his statuette for "There Will Be Blood" because it was a phenomenal performance (he should have won one for his role as "Bill the Butcher" in "Gangs of New York" a few years back as well). It was also wonderful to see legendary art director Robert Boyle receive an honorary Oscar for 7 decades of artistic leadership and creative innovation in Hollywood. But one of the surprises of the night politically came when US soldiers from Iraq presented the awards for best documentary short. I thought it was interesting how the Academy tied in the presenters with the winning documentary. I was also extremely shocked that ILM didn't win this year for best visual effects for "Pirates 3" or "Transformers". I think they were totally snubbed yet again because there was no way "The Golden Compass" surpassed the visual effects superiority of "Pirates". How can you possibly compare a cg polar bear with the maelstrom scene from "Pirates"? You can't. All in all I agreed with the Academy's choices about half the time but I guess that's how it goes every year.

Maelstrom Scene from Pirates 3

Golden Compass VFX

Friday, February 22, 2008

Cloverfield FX Reel by Double Negative

Cloverfield showreel

This is a great sequence of shots from the film with breakdowns. The green screen work is pretty surprising in places. The bridge and roof top sequences are really awesome and worth the look.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Ray Harryhausen and Friends

Well, last night Tiff and I along with friends and co-workers turned out to see Ray Harryhausen, Craig Barron, Arnold Kunert, Dennis Muren and Phil Tippett talk about Ray's films and the effects industry. One of the highlights of the night was when Arnold Kunert showed some clips from The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms that were cut from the original film. Some of the shots were of Ray's animation tests for the film and others were extended scenes. Despite being 87 years young Ray held his own and provided wonderful incite and commentary on some of his most memorable works in stop motion animation. It was inspiring to see these giants of the effects industry all on one stage together talking shop! Special thanks to Anna for the pictures!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Pixar vs Pixar

I haven't posted in a while so I thought I'd put up this Pixar film comparison I found over on Box Office Mojo. It's pretty interesting to see how the films differ in budget and domestic gross.


Thursday, February 14, 2008

On Acting by Michael Caine

Michael Caine gives great incite and instruction to a group of actors learning how to act for film. This acting direction is also extremely valuable to us animators. It's a must see when you get a chance!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Vote for Best Animated Film and Best Animated Short Film at AWN

2008 AWN Oscar Showcase

I just cast my vote for 'Rats' for best feature and Alexander Petrov's 'My Love' for best animated short. I was fortunate enough to see 'My Love' last year at a friends studio when AWN was showing private viewings of the Oscar nominees and upcoming foreign animated shorts. I was absolutely blown away (you can see it below)! Petrov creates his master pieces not with a computer but with oil on glass. Roughly each frame is a new painting. Petrov won an Oscar for his film 'The Old Man and the Sea' in 1999 that utilized the same painterly technique.

My Love

part 1

part 2

part 3

The Old Man and the Sea

part 1

part 2

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Master Animator Ken Harris

Ken Harris is quite a animation legend with over 218 animation credits that span almost 6 decades. Working for Warner Bros. and MGM Harris animated characters like Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and Tom and Jerry to name a few. Chuck Jones once said of Harris quote, " He was a master animator, a virtuoso... Ken Harris did it all."

I found a website dedicated to Harris a few months ago and thought I'd post this model sheet of Marc Antony and Pussyfoot. The poses are amazing and you can find more large examples of Harris's work on the website.

Friday, February 08, 2008

New Wall-e Trailer!!

This is really looking great! I'm loving the 'curious' animation segments in the trailer! It's interesting to see that Pixar is going for a 'photorealish' rendering style for this film. The environments look amazing and I love all the rust!! The dilapidated landscape really contrasts well with the little sleek female robot. I think my two favorite parts are when Wall-e throws the diamond ring away and when the two robots have there "Forest Gump" shot with the christmas lights around the she-bots waist. Awesome!

Brad Bird Interviews!

Evidently Brad Bird has had some radio interviews over the past week. You can check them out here:

BB interview 1

BB interview 2 (Spline Doctors)

Also be sure to check this Spline Cast interview with Brad at Spline Doctors:

BB interview 3 (Spline Cast)

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

More on the GMC Superbowl spot

On my previous post about the GMC Superbowl ad Greg commented that the animation used for the spot was actually longer in content and could be viewed on YouTube. Awesome! I did a bit of research and found that the animation is titled Sisyphus and won an Oscar in 1975 for best short film. The film was directed by Marcell Jasnkovics who is from Hungary.

Thanks for the heads up Greg!

Here is Sisyphus in all it's glory:

James Baxter Podcast is up at Animation Podcast

Clay Kaytis brings us another great interview showcased on his website The Animation Podcast. In this new show Clay interviews industry legend James Baxter. He covers everything from animation spacing to working with Richard Williams on Roger Rabbit.

Check out the interview after the jump:

Monday, February 04, 2008


Here are some doodles I've done to keep my fingers nimble at work.

2d Superbowl Commercial

I did catch the Superbowl (kinda wish the Patriots had won) yesterday and to my surprise there were a couple of 2d commercials.

My favorite one was the GMC spot that shows a man pushing a rock up a mountain. I really liked the stylized 'not on model' technique and the message. Check it out here:

Friday, February 01, 2008

Book of the FUTURE!! (from 1979)

This is too funny! Check out all the crazy "future predictions" from the past (1979) after the jump -