Wow! I haven't posted in a while. Sorry, Internet problems on my end....
Some 1 and 5 minute drawings from today's life drawing session. Was fun to experiment with shadow shapes!
So it seems that X-men 3 did well at the box office this weekend. Really well. Like, $120 million well. I had a chance to see this and the Da Vinci Code (which dropped 45% from its opening weekend earnings) and was not surprised at all. They sucked as hard as I thought they would. I suppose I should see Poseidon and Silent Hill to fully back up my gripe about the latest summer movies but I figure I've got more important things to do. At least Over the Hedge is doing well still, with only an 8% drop in earnings. Until June 9th, that is. Hehe.
It looks like Jim at Seward Street is officially closing down! Make sure to download the notes off his blog before he takes it down forever!
There's been some buzz on the net about the world premiere of Cars. Via [Luxo], "The movie was absolutely amazing. Definitely the best computer animated film of the year thus far, and the best in quite a while. [...] I will be back there on June 9th seeing it all over again."
Of course, he did also say this: "To be 100% honest, I did not find the story quite as appealing as the past couple of Pixar films, but that may just be me."
I can't wait either way.
Via the [TAG Blog], it seems that Dreamworks' next film is going to be called "Bee Movie" and will have something to do with Jerry Seinfeld. Strange that I've never heard of this? Also, I can't remember if I said anything about this when I posted about this year's Pixar visit, but I could've sworn that I heard Steve Hunter say that the next film after Ratatouille was a "Pete Docter Monster Film." Maybe I'm wrong, and maybe I posted this before, but it seemed like a good thing to mention.
In this same post it seems that Flushed Away was being paused for it's own Meet-The-Robinsons style re-tooling, but is back in full production. It's good that Disney and Dreamworks are taking the effort to pause production and make these films better!
Also on the Tag Blog (that I just noticed), seems that Lasseter and Co. might be attempting to get rid of the infamous personal service contracts that Eisner and Co. instated. Here's a summation of exactly what this contract was:
"Disney animated features started raking in huge stacks of money, and Disney management decided to tie up animation talent. If you were a director, if you were an animator, you got offered a long-term employment contract with escalation clauses. You worked "exclusively" for Disney for three or five or seven years."
I don't usually talk about the business side of animation, but I've heard some bad things about the contracts at Disney in the past (such as the apparently-rumoured 'any drawing you do during your time working at Disney is property of Disney' rumour). Seems like a good thing to me.
Wednesday, May 31, 2006
Wow! I haven't posted in a while. Sorry, Internet problems on my end....
Sunday, May 28, 2006
Alex Toth, renowned comic artist and designer, and Hanna Barbera story artist on Jonny Quest, Superfriends, and Space Ghosts, passed away today, literally on his drawing table. I could've sworn I remembered Piotr Bielicki mention his name, but I can't be sure...
Anyways, if you aren't really aware of his work, swing by this Alex Toth fansite. You'll be sure to find some of his best work. I believe he once criticised newer comic artist of a lack of story substance: "It could be comics if those who know how to paint also knew how to tell a story! Who knew what pacing was, and didn't just jam a lot of pretty pictures together into a page, pages, and call it a story, continuity! It ain't!"
Anyways, worth a look on his stuff for pete's sake. I mean, he was the type of guy that hated kids for not knowing more about their predecessors. So get educated!
(The drawing to the left is a self portrait by Frank Thomas. Just gotta make sure of that.) (P.S. Thanks to Jeff Massie for clearing up the confusion)
Steve Hulett has an amusing account of the self-deprecating and critical Frank Thomas. It's worth a read. Come to think of it, so is his book. I've got to read through it more throughly.
Cartoon Brew pointed this one out. It's yet another interview with John Lasseter. Gotta love quotes like ""I don't believe that an animation studio should be an executive-driven studio" and ""We'll still definitely be doing some hand-drawn animated films at Disney, without question." Hoo-ah!
Last but not least, Hans Bacher, production design head on Mulan, has posted a preview of his book on Production Design in Animation. The pages look a heckuva lot like the Mulan Style Guide.
Oh yeah, and this one almost slipped by. It's the new trailer for Nickolodeon's Barnyard.
Saturday, May 27, 2006
Check out this badass screencap that I made:
Here's a French teaser trailer for Ratatouille, Pixar's next film.
Thanks to Mark Mayerson for pointing out this little gem.
[update] It seems that 'at the request of the distributor, the trailer has been pulled.' Here are two more screen grabs for the curious folk:
Unfortunately I didn't save the file! I'll dig around and see if it was posted anywhere else.
Here it is on YouTube. Watch it before it gets taken down!
Here are some more caps that I found whilst searching for the trailer:
I still love my screencap.
[Update 3] The video off YouTube no longer works. Sorry kids.
Here it is, yet again! Sorry, for some reason I couldn't embed it right into my blog.
Here's a translation from Aint It Cool News:
And tonight before dessert, for your enjoyment, we introduce the cheese plate. We have this delicious goat cheese bell, real lite, real sweet. Then, an ewe that will satisfy you with its generous perfume. But, last but not least, a real very and very special...
--It’s a rat!
- And there I am. I think I have to reconsider my life. There’s nothing I can do, it’s beyond my control - I love good food, ok? And good food is very hard to find for a rat.
-- You would find it if you weren’t so demanding.
- I don’t want to eat in dustbins, Dad... --What’s that?
- I have no idea.
- You have no idea, but you eat it anyway, don’t you?
- You know, if you can close the exit after you throw up, you have a whole lot of possibilities for food.
- Voilà! That’s exactly what I meant.
(Over the movie title) Nothing of this would have happened I we lived in Paris! It’s sooo easy to find good food in Paris! But... it’s dangerous. [un-freeze].
- You have to reconsider your life!
- You know, he’s right!
- Dad, that’s enough!
The title says : Dinner will be served... summer 2007.
As pointed out in the comments,
You can download the original .mov trailer (still in french) from here:
(Click on 'Download now')
(click 'Free' then wait untill the counter gets to zero)
Or you could just wait until Cars comes out to see the english version. But who can really wait for that?
Thursday, May 25, 2006
I used to go to life drawing a lot more, or something.
Not convinced? Here are some life drawings that pre-date my blog (mostly first year work)
I still think these drawings hold up pretty well.
And here are a few experiments that I never really posted during the school year this year. I've definetly improved and evolved but it's neat to see a direct comparison. If I'm feeling particularly adventurous I'll post stuff from my first ever life drawing portfolio and compare to my later stuff. I really was quite awful.
Two and a Five minute drawing with color. Just playing around.
Just thought you'd want to see.
Here's a decent one from today. Not great, but it's the best I came up with today. It's very... simple....
Yesterday was the worst day I've had in recent memory with life drawing. Don't ask to see yesterday's drawings. They don't like you.
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
I'm sure you guys know about Spline Doctors, no? It's the correspondance course from professional animators. Anyways, they've posted up some of their work lately on the Spline Doctors Blog. Check it out!
And Level Three.
A few more things: Apparently the MoMa is putting together a large film list and screening of Calarts alumni's student films.
Do any of you like Cartoon Brew? They're looking for guest brewers now!
Plan ahead everyone! This year is the Ottawa International Animation Festival's 30th anniversary, so make sure to drop by on Sept 20-24. Especially you upper year students looking for film inspirations - it's a veritable smorgasboard of diverse films! I'd go for the animapass if you're a student - $170 for the whole festival! Skip some school for this - It's worth it.
Oh yeah, and I'm unemployed as of today. Boo.
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
Ok, so I was out last Friday in Toronto and considering what movies to go out and watch with my friends. The first consideration was The Da Vinci Code, but hopefully word got around to you that it's not so good. Personally, being a movie snob and all, I've never much taken to adaptations, other than Charlie Kaufman's wicked adapted screenplay, Adaptation, which really isn't an adaptation after all.
So what were the other choices? The only other movies people wanted to see were Poseidon, Mission: Impossible III, and Silent Hill. A (probably sub-par) remake of a sub-par action flick, a sequel, and a videogame spinoff. Where's the originality, people?
I know I've totally been geeking out about Cars lately, but I think what really stands out with Pixar is that they make -original- stories that are engaging and really solid overall. Not even Disney in their heyday made original stories - even their most original stuff like Lilo and Stitch has it's basis in the Ugly Duckling. Maybe it's just that Pixar's sources are less clear than Kimba the White Lion and the Lion King. I think this is why I like so much of Studio Ghibli's library (but I frown towards them edging towards more and more literary adaptations as story sources), as well as Aardman's.
Eventually, I didn't go to see anything, because there wasn't anything worth watching. And the MPAA wonders why people steal movies and viewership is at an all time low? So what do I have to look forward to this weekend to make up for it? The New Xmen movie. Ugh.
Posted by Alan Cook at 6:16 PM
Look forward to life drawing posted tomorrow...
In the meantime, here's some neato stuff I found out today.
Seems that our good friends at Digicel have finally ported Flipbook to the Mac OS X Operating System. This is great for all you Mac users (like me). Too bad it comes a few months late of the announcements that the new Macs with Intel Processors can run windows anyways. Oh well, it's still a good thing. Once I get home I'm gonna give it a shot.
The Tag Blog reminded me of this fact: have you guys noticed how many animated films are coming out in the next few months? Click on the poster or the link for the trailer of the movie.
Of course, there's Cars, which I gotta say again that I'm extremely excited about. It's gonna be the best movie this summer, mark my words! I also heard lately that the name for Pixar's new short film is "The Extra", just because.
Ok.. I've got to write a lot more text in this post or else the images won't wrap properly....
There's Barnyard - not too excited about this, really....
And then there's Happy Feet(which I think looks really stupid)(which Sony has prepared their defense in Surf's Up,
Monster House, which I think looks awful,
Flushed Away, which I really -want- to be good but doesn't look to promising from the trailer,
A new Garfield movie, (which I don't care about at all)
And don't forget about Open Season!, (I really love the Bear design in this movie!)
Also, I suppose you could -almost- count A Scanner Darkly. Almost.
I guess there's no point to pointing this out, I just think it's crazy that there's -this many- coming out. Here's hoping to them having this many films when we graduate!
Apparently all of these (but Scanner Darkly) are screening in front of Over the Hedge. Craziness!
By the by, I don't know about you, but I'm for sure gonna go see Cars on June 9th (two weekends from now), if anyone wants to come along just drop me a line. I definetly know there's gonna be a big group o' animation students going to see it.
Monday, May 22, 2006
Boy, be careful if you skip a day when you normally post every day, else you'll have Sarah Hermanutz on your case and tell you that she'll harm your children even if they don't yet exist and fart in your general direction, and then extorts illegal information out of you. Ok, I'm making this up, but I do feel the obligation to post both from myself and from others (I'm looking at you, Sarah XD)
Err... for the first time... in like, 80 years or something.. Goodyear blimps changed their blimps to read Lightyear because of the Lightyear tires reference in Cars.
And.. uh.. check out... these! (via the Luxo blog):
Come on, they're badass! They even molded the mouths properly! I wonder if you could (or more importantly, if I could) drive one of these? I bet a Lightning McQueen could take a rice rocket any day.
Hrm.. what else...
Check out this accusation pointed towards Pixar being sexist towards women because of the fact that they don't have leading ladies in their films and stuff.
Here's a badass quote:
"The two big reasons for the dearth of females in G-rated films are that a lot of the source material (childrens’ books, fairly tales) feature male protagonists, and more importantly, a number of very well-made childrens’ films featuring female protagonists underperformed at the box office (A Little Princess, Matilda, Because of Winn-Dixie…), leading a lot of executives to believe that boys won’t watch films with female protagonists."
Sounds almost as good as the argument that you can't make a succesful 2D animated feature film anymore because it's impossible to make one with a good story. Go Feminism!
P.S. I put out a pre-emptive apology to Sarah. I was only kidding. Geez. I mean, you got a link and everything because of that schpiel. Hehe.
P.P.S That's a great way for all you bloggers to get more hits - make fun of the people you know are regularly going to your blog. That ought to get your popularity soaring!
P.P.P.S The first time I knew you could make a post script further than one 'P.S' was when I first read Lord of the Rings in grade school. I thought it was nifty then, and I think it's nifty now.
P.P.P.P.S I saw Kiki's Delivery Service for the first time today. I really, really, really liked it. Go Miyazaki-San!
Sunday, May 21, 2006
For those of you who haven't bought Batman: The Animated Series on DVD, your local Canadian HMV stores have put season 1 and 2 on sale for $19.99. That's a bargain compared to the $59.99 that searsons 3 and 4 are going for!
I haven't had the chance to watch the first season episodes but the second season disc is pretty awesome - episodes with Clayface, that episode with the Riddler in the maze. Nothing like a blast from the past!
The commentaries are fun - Paul Dina and Bruce Timm have some interesting stuff to say on select episodes.
Oh yeah, Jenny Lerew reminded me of The Blackwing Pencil. I wonder how hard it would be to get your hands on one of these? Check her original post about Blackwings back in the day. Half the pressure, twice the speed, apparently.
Another one of my favorite shows, The Animaniacs, is due out "Summer 2006" on DVD. Keep an eye out!
If you're interested, two Calarts students, Steve MacLeod and Mario Furmancyk, have posted their third year films. Steve's is here, Mario's is here. Enjoy!
One more thing: check out this in-depth article about John Lasseter by good ol' Fortune Magazine. They seem really interested in Pixar lately?
That's all for now.
Posted by Alan Cook at 5:39 PM
Saturday, May 20, 2006
Posted by Alan Cook at 12:36 AM
Friday, May 19, 2006
I'll be go for most of the day today (if not the whole day), so I just thought I'd post some more stuff I saw right now...
I'll confess I'm not too psyched about this one (but I LOVE, Love, love love Aardman!), but a trailer finally went up for the new Aardman/Dreamworks film Flushed Away. I guess the first thing that I really notice is that the quality of the CG reminds me of the Toy Story era. Or it could just be "a style."
Oh yeah, and the one other thing that I noticed was that The Tale of the Despereaux, an animated flick picked up by Universal, is no longer under the helm of Triplette's director Sylvain Chomet. Instead, Mike Johnson, co-director of Corpse Bride, fills in. According to Animated News, Sylvain left "to work on a more personal project based on an unproduced screenplay by the French master comic Jacques Tati (Mr Hulot's Holiday)." Remember Piotr Bielicki showing Mr. Hulot (the question is asked to you second year Sheridan peeps who had him)? Anyways, the project sounds good to me.
[Update!] Two more things before I go to bed, haha.
I'm sure most of you know about Animation Archive.net. If you don't, make sure to check out the Model Sheets section. Although it's not all model sheets (some pre-production artwork, boards, etc), it's still a pretty cool resource.
Also, make sure to check out the "Sample Disney Portfolio" page.