lunes, 29 de noviembre de 2010

Makoto Shinkai’s scenery porn

Whenever someone mentions scenery porn as a commonly known trope, the idea that comes into my mind is that of compensation. When speaking about films, in general, I can picture wildly stylized photography of natural landscapes striping the attention from a lazy script layout and shaky narrative direction. Think about those films that were just gorgeous but a little flimsy plots, think about Aronofsky’s The Fountain, the watered-down Buddhist approach of Ki-Duk Kim’s Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring or Singh’s The Fall. It seems as if the directors were prioritizing eye-candy in an attempt to distract us from how thin the plot is spread, and it feels kind of dishonest and cheap. But luckily for us, this is not the only use of breathtaking scenery, and animation is a great place to start the discussion.

miércoles, 24 de noviembre de 2010

Mario Drawing Song

So here's a song that teaches you how to draw Mario. It seems that these are pretty popular outside our borders, but they look intriguingly foreign to me. I include here two more examples from the once and future masterpiece, Zan Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei where, I think, the cast toys around with the song. Do you know any other drawing song?

Howard Glitch 2

So, here's a teaser for the new Howard Glitch. You can pay the first one here, for free. Animation has improved in the hands of Kai Vold in a sense that there's actual animation, now. And I like it. It reminds a lot of 4C° Studio's work:

martes, 23 de noviembre de 2010

Outing Pixar

Once again, we have a major name of the industry making a controversial video. Bold move from a name often asociated with family-values. Congratulations!

Via: Cartoon Brew

The Dalek’s new paradigm

I’m kinda a big Doctor Who fan. I’m not a flagrant whovian fundamentalist, not even an old-school follower, but for South American standards I think I’m alright. I’ve been aching since last season’s finale for something new to watch and calm my crazy cravings and now we’re just month away from the Christmas’s Special, when our Lord and Savior will return to grace the small screen. So, I’ve been thinking about writing some stuff about the show from time to time until our countdown reaches zero. And today is the 47th aniversary of the series, so it's a perfect day to start.

I wouldn't like to be Joss Whedon

After hearing Joss in the musical-commentary track of Doctor Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, I would expect him to look more like Alan Moore. Anyways, big fires spread through the internet as a reboot of the man's most famous franchise (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) is announced and the original creator is left out of the picture. Newcomer Whit Anderson will be in charge of the writing and, while the web's unconditional love towards Whedon makes us biased, it would be too cynical to disregard the project completely this early on. Caution is adviced, though.

jueves, 18 de noviembre de 2010

Tom Waits Rotoscoped

So, Ralph Bakshi's interview is now being edited and I thought it was a good time to post this rotoscoped animation of Tom Waits. From the video's description:

Tom Waits performed in 1978 live at the La Brea stage in Hollywood, photographed and rotoscoped.The original live action was shot with 5 cameras - 2 high, 2 low and one hand held.. shot by Dan O'Dowd and crew..The music from "The One That Got Away" blared in the background as Tom sang the lyrics. Donna Gordon is the dancer performing as the stripper, 6 takes and 13 hours of video footage were edited to make a 5 1/2 minute live action short which we turned into animation. A total of 5,500 frames were captured, re-drawn, inked and painted by hand onto celluloid acitate to create this film. Produced by Lyon Lamb Video Animation Systems and directed by John Lamb, the film bore some cool new technology and talent ..and was created specifically for a burgeoning video music market that didn't yet exist and arguably may be the first music video created for the MTV market.However, a series of unfortunate events prohibited the film from ever being released or sold commercially, consequently catapulting it into obscurity.
In 1979, an Academy Award was presented to Lyon Lamb for the technology used in this short.

What amazes me is how many students or amateur projects have rotoscoped Tom Waits. He really must have something going for it:

And of course:

God, I love his voice!

lunes, 15 de noviembre de 2010

Reflections upon Setsuko's dressing scene

The first time I watched Grave of the Fireflies, one particular scene caught my attention. I think it was the scene after the beach, where both siblings have a nice day by the sea. Anyways, the thing is that after their day out, we can see a brief scene of the little sister, Setsuko, putting on her more traditional dress. Even though the moment is brief, it still caught my attention that they would so carefully animate such sequence and give it screen time.

The truth is that anime in general is filled with this kind of scenes that add nothing to the plot and tell us nothing new about the characters, but nevertheless are carefully crafted. They are the kind of scenes that you would expect in an Italian film, where the camera not only immerses in the fiction but acts as a documental witness of the reality it builds upon. Traditional cinema can have these shots easily by just filming what’s happening, but in animation they need to be crafted artificially; there’s a will behind there mere existence. So, why would a director take the time, money and skills to have them included in the movie?

miércoles, 10 de noviembre de 2010

Cartoonist Day

Alberto Breccia. AKA God.

Not long ago was animatiors day. Today I found out that here in Argentina, we celebrate cartoonist day (Día del dibujante).

It seemes that the date might have been selected to remember the passing of legendary comic book artist Alberto Breccia (there might be other reasons, but this one's the nicest). If you're Argentine, he needs no introduction. If you're not, go and google his amazing skills.

Well, once again, I'd like to congratulate everyone that can grab a pencil and make something beautiful. But with all this celebration around I have to ask: don't you ever work, people?

martes, 9 de noviembre de 2010

A method to its madness

There's a hidden email address.

Many of the things I like often get accused of being too random. This is a continuous debate among the fandoms of any given form of narrative: the one between the random and the you-just-don-t-get-it factions. Get in any 12 Oz. Mouse, No more Heroes or David Lynch forum thread and there’ll be people on both sides hurling their feces across the room. These discussions have become so clichéd that they are no longer boring, just plainly annoying. But I’ve been wondering if it was always that way.

Acually, I’ve been wondering a lot, lately. For example: I used to have to explain what “meta-language” meant, and now there are TV shows that self reference their humor as “meta”. We all know that nerd culture has become commercially successful, but we don’t, that often, ask ourselves how has that changed the way we perceive the world, and especially narrative, in its consumption and development. Don’t worry, I don’t even pretend to tackle such big subjects in one post. But I wanted to let you know this subject might become a series.

Anyways, back to the randomness debate…

viernes, 5 de noviembre de 2010

Bill Plympton – Interview

I know I promised it a long time ago, but it is finally here. Our interview with Bill Plympton.

The man needs no presentation at all. He makes and distributes his own films, all by himself. He’s kind of the king of independent animation.

A few things that were left out of the final cut:

    1) It seems that Bill is talking with some people at MTV that want to start a new internet animation channel, and they want to get him highly involved. There’s nothing official, but good luck with that, Bill!

    2) My beautiful voice. Now, seriously, that was a blessing in disguise. This was my first interview of this kind and I was kinda nervous. The new ones are coming better, but lots of thanks to Bill for his patience.

Also, he mentions in the interview the Guard Dog Double Jam, an effort to re-make his Oscar-nominated short with the help of 70 animators. Check it out! One of them could be you!

jueves, 4 de noviembre de 2010

Extra Credits - Facing Controversy

I was going to talk about last night’s South Park episode, about the reference to Miyazaki’s masterpiece My neighbor Totoro and last year’s reference to The killer joke (Thursdays are, after all, kinda my South Park days). But I’m not going to do that anymore.

In case you haven't heard of it yet, this is Daniel Floyd, James Portnow and Allison Theus’ show, Extra Credits, where they discuss different aspects of the video game industry. Daniel and James started making this kind of videos a couple of years ago under the name of “Talking about these”. The insight and the quality of their analysis set them apart from the rest of the video reviewers out there. They wrote some powerful stuff, but it took them ages to cook up new videos. Luckily, The Escapist cut some kind of deal and now we have them once a week.

The video I posted is a re-make version of last year’s show, and that’s why the references in it may not be that fresh. But I think it still is somewhat moving, and definitely worth a watch.

lunes, 1 de noviembre de 2010

Back to the Future, re-building the past

It’s been almost 25 years since Back to the Future graced the silver screen with its presence for the first time, and we’re bound to see all kind of homage and revivals. Luckily, this time around there are no revamped versions to stir up the fandom but, instead, we’re getting a video game from Telltale Games (Sam & Max, Tales of Monkey Island) based on the adventures of Marty McFly and Doc Brown.

We all know that the translation from the big screen to the gaming world has one of the most infamous histories of our time. Most licensed titles tend up to be rushed and downright broken, due to the greedy efforts to milk the franchise of all that is worth while the hype’s still high. Nevertheless, there’s a new kind of game based on movies that doesn’t need to be butchered by release schedule of their film counterpart. These games are based on nostalgic and cult classics, revived to tell, once again, new tales from their dormant worlds. Among these we can count Evil Dead, Ghostbusters, The Warriors, The Godfather and, of course, the aforementioned Back to the Future.