Thursday, July 27, 2006

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.


Phil ROD 4:26 PM  

Hi Alan, I saw Monster House and I quite enjoyed it. The performance and face expression are as good as the article say, but I believe the writer’s comparison to Disney’s Snow White was off. IfMick Lasalle “the Critic” had done his research he wound have know that the reason for Snow White being a successful full animated film was that it emotionally connection with the audience because of good performance, the audience actually cried when watching the heart broken Dwarfs mourn over Snow White when it was release back in December 21, 1937. As well as a more resent 2D animated Flim that made the audience cry was The Lion King. So far their hasn’t been a Computer Generated film that has touch audience like that.

Seo Kim 12:27 AM  

nice rant.. well said

S. Stephani Soejono 8:39 AM  

I gotta say Alan, this is one of your best entry. XD

Ever thought of being an animation journalist mon ami?

Cookedart 10:14 AM  

Wow Phil - that was quite an eloquent response for you! Haha!

Thanks Seo!

Steph - No, I'd rather do the drawing :)

Phil ROD 7:49 PM  

eloquent, what does that mean?

Subscribe To...

Site Tracking...

free hit counter

eXTReMe Tracker

Locations of visitors to this page

  © Alan Cook, 2009. Template based on 'Neuronic' by 2008

Back to TOP