Monday, July 31, 2006

Another one bites the dust...



Dell number three bursts into flames in Singapore. Don't use these on your laps people! Protect the jewels!

P.S. I wish I had something better to post about - truly, I do.

Maybe something from the pitch later today?

[Update]

I -do- have something to post.

Check out these tablet pc drawings by Glen Vilppu. I got them from Seward Street (which from what I understand is going to go offline eventually) and wanted to archive them here. I figure most people haven't seen them anyways. Enjoy!













Some late-breaking news today!

Only days after joining, Hayao Miyazaki has resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) - the guys who choose the Oscars every year. Miyazaki was quoted as wanting to "concentrate on his creative activities." Miyazaki-san joined Ken Watanabe and Akira Kurosawa as the third Japanese member of the Academy before his resignation.

Autodesk has released 3d Studio Max 9 and Maya 8 today. This is notable since this is the first version of the program released since Autodesk's takeover of Alias, the company who originally made Maya. Whether or not they will stay two products for the 10th and 9th versions (respectively) remains a mystery, but this is a good thing for all you people who know Maya and/or Max really well, and couldn't be bothered to learn the other.

Here are some of the features for all you geeks (Of Maya 8)

* 64-bit support for Windows and Linux (Where's the Mac support? Was this already integrated into Maya 7?)
* Scalable multithreading to improve performance on multiprocessor systems
* Ability to override viewports with a user-defined renderer, such as a game engine
* Optimized mental ray 3.5 core for superior rendering performance and memory usage
* Polygon Bridge and Transfer Polygon Attributes
* Support for high dynamic range (HDR) and floating-point images
* Support for interactive viewing of native and custom mental ray shaders
* Improved Autodesk FBX plug-in to provide tighter integration between Maya and applications such as 3ds Max and MotionBuilder
* Interchangeable geometry cache between Maya and 3ds Max, allowing for the exchange of complex data between the two packages
* Export of render layers to Autodesk Toxik software’s database

Sunday, July 30, 2006

More on Ratatouille...

The image to the left is actually found when googling Ratatouille (using an image search). I kid you not. Isn't it cute?

So no, this is not an image from Ratatouille, but AWN has some newish news about Pixar's next:

"Walt Disney Pictures has announced that Patton Oswalt, Brian Dennehy, Brad Garrett, Janeane Garofalo, Ian Holm and John Ratzenberger will voice Disney/Pixar's animated-adventure RATATOUILLE, opening June 29, 2007."

Also, a slightly updated plot summary - don't read it if you don't want to know anything about it!:

"In the film, a rat named Remy dreams of becoming a great French chef despite his family's wishes and the obvious problem of being a rat in a decidedly rodent-phobic profession. When fate places Remy in the sewers of Paris, he finds himself ideally situated beneath a restaurant made famous by his culinary hero, Auguste Gusteau. Despite the apparent dangers of being an unlikely — and certainly unwanted — visitor in the kitchen of a fine French restaurant, Remy's passion for cooking soon sets into motion a hilarious and exciting rat race that turns the culinary world of Paris upside down.

Remy finds himself torn between his calling and passion in life or returning forever to his previous existence as a rat. He learns the truth about friendship, family and having no choice but to be who he really is, a rat who wants to be a chef."

AWN's article here.

Life Drawing Sketchdump 2

Hey guys! Sorry for the lack of updates - my Internet at home's been wonky.

Here's the stuff from TSA on Friday. I'm still hoping to get some Dick Williams stuff up soon but I gotta have internet at home to do it.











Friday, July 28, 2006

And Two More Reasons Not to Buy a Dell...

Two seperate incidences where a Dell Laptop exploded:

1)In Japan during a conference:



2)During a not so regular day at work at a computer engineering firm:



Judging by the hole in the laptop, I'd have to guess there's a problem with the battery. Just a little problem.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Ocean Waves (I Can Hear the Sea)

Here is a Studio Ghibli Made-For-TV movie called I Can Hear the Sea. I hadn't seen it before either and saw it pop up on YouTube thanks to the Conversations On Ghibli blog. Enjoy!



[Update]
This user has also posted up many other Ghibli films, such as Pom Poko, Whispers of the Heart, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, and The Cat Returns. Check out his YouTube account here.

Also there is this Music Video from Studio Ghibli:



I'm going to have some Richard Williams stuff up soon. Watch for it!

OIAF '06 and Some Various News and Rants

Everyone looking forward to the Ottawa Internation Animation Festival this year?

First up I wanted to point out the Teletoon Animation Scholarship films - There are no less than 8 Sheridan Student films in this competition this year (two in the continuing education, 6 in the most promising student category). I wanted to congratulate Nick Thornborrow and Andrew Ross for their films, The Terrible Error of the Replacement Mayor, and Umbrella Boy (which is also part , both being considered for the continuing education scholarship. Great job guys! The rest of the Sheridan students are from the Computer Animation program and I hope that they do well as well!

As for the films in competition, check out this page. Some hilights are Book of the Dead, one of the three Feature Films being screened this year, two interesting films in the internation showcase - Monster Samurai (by Sprite Production of Japan), and Disney's The Little Matchgirl - will definetly be worth watching.

Unfortunately I didn't recognize any of the narrative shorts but I definetly going out the shorts competitions anyways. I'm expecting high things this year. I was also surprised that the Roto film Renaissance was not one of the three features ... featured this year.

I noticed one category called "Animation School Showreel" - with the following schools in the category: École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs – ENSAD(France), Filmakademie Baden-Wuerttemburg (Germany), National Film and Television School (UK), Royal College of Art (UK) - Why didn't Sheridan contribute to this?

Also, annoyingly in the news today is this review that's been floating around of Monster House. Again, I must re-reference this screen grab taken from the trailer:



And compare it to the quote in this review:

"There was never any point to a close-up in an animated film -- there was never really anything to see. But with the motion-capture process, real actors give their performances with computer sensors attached to their face and body, and that recorded information becomes the template for the computer animation. If an actor is bug-eyed, the character will look bug-eyed. Moreover, if the actor is thinking or is full of doubt, the technology will be able to render subtle qualities of pensiveness or doubt in the animation."


So essentially Gil Kenan wanted this character to look stiff, uncomfortable, and awkward. If this is true, then Mike LaSalle was definetly right about Mo-Cap.

I like this quote too:

"Animated films always had the advantage of being able to go anywhere and show anything, to defy the laws of physics and follow the imagination as far as it could go. But they never had the ability to show the human face"


*

By golly, he's right! I think he's onto something here.

I think what's at issue here is the display of a clear misunderstanding about what animators actually do, and how that affects the appearance of the final film. More often than not I find critics commenting on the 'animation' in movies like Monster House and Polar Express when they are actually speaking about the overall visual quality - the models, the backgrounds - how good the still image looks. What I don't find is their understanding of the principles of animation. Maybe it's just the people studying and doing animation that find this mind-numbing, but money-shots and impressive models do nothing if the acting and posing is not clear. I remember one quote from the Producer of the Polar Express, who said "There's no animator that can create a human performance." As Amid of Cartoon Brew puts it (in reference to Roto, but I believe there is a parellel here) that they believe "that an animator is incapable of creating a performance that can compete with a live-action performance." a bias that I'm certain exists not because both mediums do not have great performances, but because the medium of animation is not taken seriously either as a full-fledged film-making process, or more precisely a medium through which great acting can be achieved. More and more I find that it's being considered a children's story medium that cannot instill the great range of emotions that a live action camera can capture. But what I do find is that there is a genuine unilateral response to movies with quality animation - Pixar's movies are both hits with critics and the box office, and it's clear that they try to push the 3d animation medium to the next level with every movie that they make. This acclaim cannot be said of the Polar Express, where many reviewers and movie-goers alike found a certain creepiness to the characters - and you didn't really hear much about the story beyond that. Because of this, I find that there's more of a subsconscious reaction to movie-goers with respect to good, fully fluid character animation - especially since the hallmark of good animation means that the viewer has doesn't notice the hard work or time that was put into the animation - just that it moves correctly and they believe that it's alive. I think that animators take great offense to claims like the one in this review simply because we work so damn hard at each and every scene to be believable, hoping that the audience doesn't notice any flaws. And then a new technology with clear flaws comes along whose sole purpose is to require less animators to complete a CGI film.

Anyways!Variety (registration required) posts about The Frog Princess. No more real news here - Still being directed by John Musker and Ron Clements - just good to see more news floating around about 2D features at Disney.

You might also want to check out Luxo's post on their visit to Pixar.

No more for today - I'm fuming! Haha.

*Ok, so there are some mermaids here. But they've got human faces.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Chris Sanders' Sketchbook

Jenny Lerew of The Blackwing Diaries posts about the Chris Sanders Sketchbook that was available at the San Diego Comic-con:

"I ran into Chris Sanders at the very end on Sunday night... the rest of his sketchbooks (which are AMAZING, by the way!) went to Stuart Ng and Bud Plant... you should be able to get them online very soon."

I think I might just have to grab that.

News Radar

What's on Alan Cook's news radar for today?

Quite a bit, actually..

First off, the Animaniacs and Pinky and the Brain season one are out on DVD as of yesterday. It's about time!

I'm sure there are some stop motion freaks out there - so check out this book for sure! I hear good things.

Check out Cartoon Modern's post on Rod Scribner, animator for WB and UPA.

The Tag blog's post answers the question (or rather, raises the point) about how Dreamworks/PDI never really releases Art-Of Companion books for their films (save Prince of Egypt). The image to the left is by Paul Shardlow, (C) DreamWorks. Make sure to check out the post for some pre-viz art for Spirit.

Also check out this post detailing some of the happenings of the San Diego Comic Con. Featuring Craig McCracken, Steve Gordon, Chris Sanders, and Robh Ruppel (Meet the Robinson's art director). I would (probably) kill for that Chris Sanders sketchbook! Let's hope Randeep bought some extras, haha.

Check out this Engadget Post on how some crazy science people have learned how to write on water using waves.

Matt Williames is at it again! Check out post 2 and a half on his process of animation.

Lastly check out the FPS post about this year's Ottawa Internation Animation Festival. Be there!

Is anyone noticing the images on my blog getting screwed up, or is that just this computer?

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

You guys lose!

None of you guys guessed! (Save Halya, who gets a special golden sticker).

You guys all lose, and I win, because it's ma birth-day.

Anyways...

Monday, July 24, 2006

The Horrendous Anatomical Autopsy of an iBook G4











And now a real look at how she looks like underneath all that shiny white plastic makeup.

P.S. This is not a fun or enlightening thing to do. Avoid it at all costs.

P.P.S Guess what day it is today?

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Another day in Pitchville...



Wait a minute.. what's going on here?

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Wow....

Did everybody know about this or is this old news and I've been living under a rock?

No comment from me on the trailer itself though.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Life Drawing Sketchdump.

A dump of sketches that I did today (I guess it's yesterday now, huh?).

















First one is a 1 minute (Gasp!) and the rest are 5 or above. I tried out compressed charcoal for the first time today. We like each other now.

Monster House

Check out this scathing review of Monster House, which opens today. (It appeared in Metro via writer Norman Wilner, if you want to know)

"The artificial nature of the motion-capture process has a weird way of undermining the fun: You're always aware the characters aren't quite interacting with the backgrounds, and the decision to hold back the show-stopping imagery until halfway into the picture makes one wonder why this could have been shot with live actors on digitally enhanced sets. [...] Monster house feels like a mutant conjured into existence to prove a point, rather than to entertain."

Looks like Bob Zemeckis and Gil Kenan have found the recipe for success.

One more thing - it looks like that free wireless cloud over Toronto is going to start coming into affect on September 7th. Free internet for all in Toronto! (Or at least the areas that they decide to do first).

Thursday, July 20, 2006

News!

Ok I know I've been really bad with the news updates lately but my life has been crazy! Anyways, here's some stuff I picked up on my radar.

Ok so I know I'm a major geek but you've got to admit this is pretty damned cool:

D.T. Nethery posts about how his co-worker retrofitted his desk as such to allow for using a Wacom Cintiq just like an animation desk. Wowza! Cintiqs are the bomb.

I know all the internet buzz has been around San Diego Comic-Con lately, so I thought I'd add to it - apparently (according to AWN) IDT will take the wraps off their animated Hellboy series whose designs are drawn from Sean "Cheeks" Galloway. That and I hear that they'll show what Venom looks like in Spider-man 3.

Apparently some crazy former Universal Studios guy has made a real talking mirror. Although it doesn't answer who's the fairest of them all, it -can- tell you when your jacuzzi is at the desired temperature.

Steve Hulett of the TAG Blog posts about his visit to Dreamworks. Apparently it's crunch time on Flushed Away and the Seinfeld-featured Bee Movie is looking promising, according to those at the studio.

Check this thing out. It's called the Optimus Pro keyboard - Ron the Model told me about it. Apparently each letter in the keyboard is a small LCD screen that can changes what is displayed on it according to the active program you're using. Click on the image to see the photoshop keyboard layout. The Touch-typer layout is amusing. Make sure to check out the quake one too!

Stay tuned to Matt Wiliames' blog - he's showing his way through his process of animation. Check out post two here.

Mark Kennedy has a post with some of Bill Peet's drawings. Check it out!

I got a nifty assignment from Chuck today. I'll show it to you guys when I'm done but it's something that the studio's known for doing.

That's all for today!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Today's Life (Again)






A 5 and a 10 from costumed life drawing today.

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I love animation and making films.

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