Start the week off right, with some VERY cool animation…

Galactic MailThis comes from Asterokid, a French animator (based in London). And as you maybe can tell from the screengrabs I picked, the plot of this short but sweet piece involves an army of FedEx-ers duking it out against team UPS to deliver a package. From space. Why? Who knows, maybe so a lowly animator can get the attention of two of the biggest companies on the planet. Hopefully it worked. I’d love to see either FedEx or UPS start using clips of this brawl in their commercials. Maybe they could do like a Marvel vs DC crossover thing…I won’t hold my breath for that though. Although my dad tell me he read somewhere that when a Lowes and Home Depot are built right next to each other, sales at both stores are better than those at isolated stores. Think that over. Hrmm…

Galactic Mail

And check out , where you can see more from  Douglas er Asterokid, like this other awesome man-slammin’ animation, called Sigg Jones


Andre Barnwell’s “Smoke This” Animation!

Just saw a very cool animation on Vimeo by Andre Barnwell titled Smoke This: Episode 1.  Here’s a few points that I like…

  1. Its about a minute. Short animations should be short!
  2. Great choice of colors and textures throughout the background, and in the foreground I think Andre made a smart color choice using pinks, blues, or purples for skin tones.
  3. Its got a hook! At about 50 seconds (approximately when a short animation is feeling no longer watch-worthy) there’s a nice hook that keeps you interested until the finish.
  4. “Episode 1” implies more episodes!  So just from the title alone I’m interested because I know if I like part 1, there could be more parts.
  5. And finally this point has nothing to do with the animation itself, but Andre mentions in his description that this was done for a rapper, Big Page (the guy in the limo), and I’ll wager a guess that this project was done more for the benefit of mutual exposure vs. wads of cash in Andre’s pocket. Which if thats the case, was smart. I think its a very good idea for an animator to connect up with someone like a musician, comedian or other entertainer.  For example, a relatively unknown rapper in Toronto is now known to me through Andre’s work, and I’m sure the exposure for Andre is just as good. Good entertainers are good promoters, so in promoting himself I’m sure Big Page will be showing a lot of people in Toronto that he’s already got a cartoon he’s starring in.

Smoke This by Andre Barnwell (click to view)Click to watchClick to view

Stop Motion Intro (and what it took to make)

Here’s a great piece of stop motion

Stop Motion: The Long Haul

And I gotta paste-steal this from their description, since its a great list of what went into making it…

Photo and motion commit to a long life together in a movie made from 4000 great pictures and…

3 x pimped out stills cameras
2000 square feet of studio
11 x Obama lovers
2 x Producers with whips
450 kg of props
360 degrees of dolly track
15 hours of makeup
1 x clip on rat tail
2 x actors standing still for 22 hrs
1 x grown woman wearing a child sized dragon outfit
1 x 72 hr work work day
1 x “Bapapa” song

Perfect isometric 3D animation!

This animation, Subprime by Mike Winkelmann is amazing. Lets get that obvious comment out of the way. Please watch it because the still shots below do not do it justice and I think its important to understand what’s so unique about Subprime. But if you don’t get it just from watching it, here goes…

Mike’s camera is constantly swiveling around this iso-world, and YET the rules of iso-symmetry are somehow still VERY intact. What rules do I mean?… well, we all know on paper (or in your 2D illustration programs) isometric art conforms to an infinity parallel grid. So every iso-artist begins by drawing out a ton of diagonal straight lines that are equi-distant from each other and uses that as a guide for every line to follow. The Grid is God, whether or not it lives to be visible in the end of the piece, its still the law. And if you grew up playing Paperboy by Atari (or grew up centuries ago before artists used perspective lines) than you probably have some serious love for isometric art.  Which is why its so painfully ugly when its done wrong.

Remember this post I linked up a couple weeks ago about Comcast’s s**tty attempt at doing something similar. Kris left a comment that summed up better than I could what was so wrong about it…

…the real people/isometric idea is upsetting to me. Upsetting in a obsessive compulsive way. When one of the real people are at a slightly wrong angle, I just want to stick my hand through my monitor, grap them, and twist them so they look right. Unfortunatly, I didn’t lay down the dimensions in my pixel world, and in doing this I have now made a tree look like it’s at the wrong angle. So I twist that. Now the dog looks bad. So I….AAAAHHHGGGG!

Well put. When watching Subprime, I have zero urge to reach in there and force everything back to conforming to the Grid. And yet, if you told me before watching Mike’s incredible piece that some dude made an isometric world in 3D and spun the camera in circles the entire time, I’d be like “How can it NOT look f******?!”

What else raises the Love-Meter for me?… watching the transitions from constructing to deconstructing and back again are hypnotic. I’ve watched this 5 times already and it feels like a different animation each time. I haven’t worked in 3D in years but I know there’s no “magic button” for doing the things Mike has painstakingly crafted here.

Conclusion: I’m going to buy that house for sale at the end. Oops, spoiler.

Subprime (Isometric animation)

Cool Animation… but with some drama.

There’s a little ethical debating going on at Cartoon Brew right now, and it makes for a great read. 

First: Watch Pratt student, Javan Ivey’s incredibly cool animation

Next: Watch this similar animation for Bonnaroo done by Ghost Robot recently

And below that same link, you can read what some of the fuss is about. Here’s a taste of what Amid at CartoonBrew has to say…

“In my opinion, this is what it boils down to: how creatively bankrupt does a commercial studio have to be to troll the Internet looking for the ideas of college students to rip off? Is there nobody at Ghost Robot who possesses an ounce of creativity so that they don’t have to pitch the ideas of college students to clients?”

Ouch, right! If you have time, read all of what Amid has to say, and most of the comments following the article are really interesting. 

My two cents, no artistic technique will stay un-borrowed-from forever. A good example: A long time ago somebody drew something, then filmed one frame of it, then drew something else very similar to the first drawing and filmed that. After a few seconds that person probably decided to watch what he’d done. His mind was blown so he immediately ran out the door to show his “animation” to a bunch of people to blow their minds.  And some guy looking over the shoulders of that group of people was like  “oh snap, I could do that too”, and 100 or so years later we have millions of animators and thousands of animated films. 

The danger of showing the world you’ve done something cool is that someone else will appreciate it enough to want to copy what you’ve done. In Javan’s case the “someone else”  just so happened to be a company that got paid for copying his stylish technique. But that was going to happen sooner or later. The silver lining here is that it happened sooner than later, and a big site like Cartoon Brew noticed. Seriously. If Ghost Robot used that technique 10 years from now, I doubt anyone would have cared or even noticed it was done before, and Javan Ivey wouldn’t have gotten mentioned anywhere as the Godfather of Stratastencil Animation. Who by the way, appears to be a class act about all this. He isn’t fussing about his technique being used elsewhere.

Stratastencil Technique

"Stratastencil" technique created by Javan Ivey

"Stratastencil" technique created by Javan Ivey

Wall-E Interface Design

Okay this is turning into Animated Movie Week at the blog, but since I just watched Wall-E , I can still remember where some of the best interface design elements were. And lets hope Pixar doesn’t mind some fellow artists gawking at (and reposting) pics of their work. Click the images for embiggened versions….

Continue reading

Best. Blog. Ever.


Thanks to member, boke, in the CartoonSmart forum for tipping me off to this amazing blog, Two guys Ian and Alex have posted some of the best title sequences from movies and TV shows. All of them in big beautiful Quicktime.  Take a look at one of my favorites from recent times… Kiss, Kiss Bang Bang.