Thursday, September 30, 2010

Not Enough Time, But A Little Times (Square)

On multiple deliveries this week, and had a 9:00 am meeting at 7th Avenue and 50th Street.

In lieu of anything informative, this morning a few snapshots from the window.

Looking Down(town)

Leaning East

Closer Downtown To Thee

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Infor Flash Paint

Here are some of the spots we did for Infor through Agency PJA with Steve Brodner.

Most of these are created to be .swf files. The media buy is primarily for targeted websites (like the NY Times, Business Week, Forbes, etc). A major component of the media buy is bandwidth -file size.

These files need to be anywhere from 18k to 32k. Some more complex pieces, like expandables or page take overs have larger sizes.

You can imagine the difficulty of fitting information, art and animation in those small files. A lot of compromises need to be made (mostly in art and animation).

In the above spot, we redraughted and repainted Brodner's artwork in Flash.

Below, we were working strictly under time/budget constraints and animated Brodner's illustration in AfterEffects.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Good Lookin' #3

Here are the next two shots in this sequence from Ralph Bakshi's "Hey Good Lookin'".

The animation here is pretty interesting.

It's very loose and cartoony. It fits the characters' personalities.

Strike that -the animation develops the characters' personalities.

In the first shot, we have a funny, simple "take" by the father.


Only four drawings required.

1. is the starting position
2. is an inbetween of 1 and 3
3. is the downward extreme
4. is an extreme the other way.  NO INBETWEEN

The pop between 3. and 4. is what makes it work.

There's no "settle" back to 1. here (which is often required in a "take") because Crazy fills frame.

We then cut 180 degrees to the Father's point of view.  Crazy's animation is, well, appropriate.

It's a 3 second shot, entirely on 2's (meaning 36 drawings).  Here are some of the key poses he goes through.


Before we get any sense of the character from dialogue, we figure that "Crazy" really is unhinged through his animation alone.

I don't know who is responsible for this animation, but it's goofy bizarre in a great way.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Monday Morning Movie

Brian was hankering to see this classic John Hubley Sesame Street film after going to the Electric Company show put on by ASIFA East last week.

I couldn't find it on YouTube, so I digitized it and uploaded it.

Tissa David did the animation

Sunday, September 26, 2010

All Meetings - Top Cel Vol 1, #5

Here's Top Cel Volume 1, #5 from March 20, 1944

Editor: S. Knoring (I hope that wasn't a joke, but it's too close to animator humor not to be).


Contract of the Famous Unit of Local 1461 signed and will be submitted to the War Labor Board for approval after the management and union decide on the phraseology and exact classification of each job listed.

A copy of the contract (Woody Gelman, keeper) is open to any member's inspection.

The Terrytoon contract came before the War Labor Board last March 13th.  we are waiting their decision.


The payment of the initiation fee of $5. will be extended through February 29th, 1944, after which time the regular initiation fee will remain in effect.

In order that the general membership have access to information about the Brotherhood Constitution and our local by-laws, it was decided to buy a small quantity of the constitutions to be sold at cost (10 cents) and to have the by-laws mimeographed for general distribution.

"Sparky", working foreman at Terry became a test case when he requested a withdrawal card because our by-laws exclude supervisors.  After investigating the matter, it was decided that the the ruling does not apply to "Sparky" since he has no power to hire or fire and works as an employee in coordination with the rest of the employees.

It was recommended that a list of former employees now in the armed forces be secured through the management.  Any member who knows a cartoonist-serviceman's address is requested to give this information to Pepe Ruiz, so that it may be put on TOP CEL'S mailing list.  Judging from the reaction given to the "Animator", the West Coast's union paper, the home news is very much appreciated.

The Business Agent was voted an expense account.

Mory Redon was elected Warden to the Executive Committee.


From the "Animator":

"At the January membership meeting, Al Amatuzio reported  on the new labor-management committee at Disney's.  the committee is composed of ten men, five from the management and five from the employees.  Three seats are permanent fore each and three are revolving.  Since there are thirty-three unions on the lot, the committee is not strictly from this Local (852).  It was started as of the first of the year.  At the first meeting an idea was presented from the employees which will save the studio thousands of dollars on commercial films."

From "Motion Picture Daily":

"George Pal was given a special citation for development of a new technique in comedy shorts as evidenced in his 'Puppettoons'."


GEORGE CANNATA...fresh from Schless to Famous....ABNER KNEITEL and WALLY able seamen.... JOE DENEROFF...still a devotee of the photographic arts...... BERNADETTE PILLET... visiting in Montreal.....LILLIAN GROSSMAN (Linday Grayson) a new addition to Harry Conover cheesecake....MINA MORRISSEY, a new memer of the matching department......KATHERINE CHAILLE is knitting pink elephants......there must be a better way to see 'em.....EMIL McCORMICK, Leonard's brother reported a war prisoner.  His mother was recently awarded the air medal.....ROSALIE SOCOLOV put in overtime as a volunteer aid for the overseas patients at Mitchell Field Hospital .

The General Membership:

Excluding the rules of the bylaws which regulate the method of conducting the general business, the General Membership is the sole ruler of the organization.  The health of the union depends on it. Each member being an integral part and each member responsible for any action taken by the Local.  A member who gripes about what "they" are doing is admitting to his own lack of responsibility.  He has his individual vote and the opportunity to voice his opinion at an open hearing and bring other votes to his side by the power of superior argument.

It is understood of course that once the General Membership take a position on any subject, that such decision has been arrived at democratically, vote for vote, that members who weren't present for various reasons have forfeited their opinions and that therefore, all the members owe their allegiance to the decision even if they had been the strongest exponents of the 'loyal opposition'.

We've heard quite a bit about "bad" unions in  the daily press.  W. Pegler for one, has written himself hoarse on the subject.  Unions in themselves are not bad, based as they are on the most elementary democracy.  And it stands to reason that only members who do not take active participation in meetings but let off eloquently in "parlor" conversations taking pot shots at their more energetic union brothers have the makings of what has been misnamed "bad" unions"

All meetings are important.  All decisions are vital.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Still Lookin' Good

Here's the shot directly following the shot posted yesterday.

The animation is tighter and loses the vibrancy of the more cartoony work shown yesterday.

Look at the face of Vinnie, the lead character.  It's all hard angles -even the curves are flat.  The lines don't give him form or shape, they simply define a space.

Compare to Eva (the heroine).  Her design is softer, giving her three dimensional form -and an ample bosom.

The scene is like a Gary Panter drawing interacting with The Little Mermaid.


Eva, pre-implants?

The language of animating a Panter-style character is very different from a traditional doe-eyed cartoon dame.  Integrating them in one shot is even more difficult.  The Bakshi designs aren't Gary Panter, but the simplification of Ralph's ambitious characters for tight rate animation flattens Vinnie into a single plane drawing.

This sequence contains one of the cardinal sins of animation (and film, in general, but a something like this can fly in live action).

The jump cut.

Above: the last image of a shot.

Below: the first image of the next shot.

Editorially, you can "cut on an action".  Meaning:  if Vinnie's hand is moving towards her face and she's pulling the jacket down, the cut can work.   It won't be jarring.

At least two things would have to happen between the frames for this to hook up:  Vinnie has to let go of the jacket (exchanging it with Eva) and he has to reach for her face.  Those are two distinct gestures.

Compounding the problem is the relative distance of the camera.  We're only opening up three or four fields and keeping the same angle.  There isn't enough visual distinction between the shots to warrant a cut.

I imagine that production issues compelled this edit.  The film was animated over the course of several years.  It's possible that two animators worked on it, or that one shot is a reuse.  Any number of obstacles could have necessitated this edit.

One of the great things about Bakshi's productions is that he never lets these obstacles prevent him from making his film.

Above:  Tissa David once told me to never have a "bird's eye view" unless you're a bird.  Only god can see the world like that.

Her underlying point is that while the camera can do things the human can not, the staging of cuts need flow from how we inherently see things.  Obviously this isn't true to many styles of storytelling, she was referring to naturalistic films like this one.

Above: the last shot in the clip the above clip.

Nice, dynamic staging.  Good expressions on Dad and daughter.

More on this sequence within the next few days.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Hey, Good Lookin'

The VHS, portal to yesterday.  Savior of film so forgotten there's no money to be made on the DVD.

Together with Coonskin, Hey Good Lookin' is Ralph Bakshi's only film not available on DVD (although the former can be found on high quality 'unofficial' DVD releases).  [note: while writing this I discovered a DVD of questionable origins which calls this film "Coonskin 2"]

Michael Sporn has an excellent post in Johnny Vita and Ira Turek's background work in Fritz the Cat.   And their work on this film is equal to their exceptional backgrounds in that film, even if they don't feel as fresh a decade later.

What sticks out most in Hey Good Lookin' isn't so much the backgrounds, or the story (with similarities to Heavy Traffic), or the design (which maintains that Bakshi problem- too ambitious for the budget) -what sticks out is the sometimes bizarre animation.  Bizarre in a good way.  The animation his cartoon films never really stuck out apart from a scene or two in Coonskin.

Here, some scenes -especially the animation of the character "Crazy" -elevate the film in a way unlike Bakshi's other pictures.

Over the next week, we'll be posting clips from one particular sequence which showcases the dichotomy of animation styles in the film.

Above we have a three field pan over the ancillary characters to begin the sequence.

They're mostly on 8 drawing cycles. Really funny an interesting cycles.

The last two characters fighting aren't on a single discernible cycle.



This animation plays on 2's and 3's.  Leather jacket hooks drawing 11 into 4 for #12.  This is a good way to make a cycle -have different hook up points so the action isn't a constant  repeat.  It gives this animation a lot of it's impact.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Bye, Bye...

Before moving on from the Mogubgub mania, here's Freddie's "American Pie" which I was finally able to get uploaded.

Youtube blocks it for song publishing. I didn't want to upload it to Vimeo because it's not our work. So we put it on our Facebook page, which we use for animation notices as well as self promotion.

This is from a VHS copy of the film. It looks as though it's 16mm print taped off a projection on a wall. Sorry, it's the best quality I can do.

The animation is largely composed from segments of "Make A Wish" (or so I've been told). The clips were mostly done by the long list of artists at the head credits -primarily students/recent grads.

I'd like to know who the guy on the motorcycle was.

The producer was Al Brodax, best known for producing the Beatles Saturday morning cartoon and "The Yellow Submarine".

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

ASIFA Magazine - Fred Mogubgub, part five. ENCORE! En Fran├žais!

The greatest thing about old ASIFA publications is that they were tri-lingual: English, French and Russian.

This, I believe, was the first international magazine to ditch the Russian. The expense far outweighed the Russian readership, and since the organization no longer needed to worry out Cold War era cultural appeasements the third tongue was dropped.

Click image to enlarge and test your language skills.