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Archive for the ‘Techniques’

Room With An Interview

February 16th, 2009


Coming up in NYC… the chance to see two passionate and animated innovators in person.

Tuesday night at 7 at YIVO (15 West 16th street) Danny Fingeroth chit chats with the irrepressible Harvey Pekar of American Splendor fame (and some exciting appearances on The David Letterman Show). SECRET PASSWORD FOR REDUCED ADMISSION: At the door, say the word “Harvey” for $10 ticket (regularly $15).


Tuesday, March 3rd at 6:30 at The Society of Illustrators (128 East 63rd) meet David Polonsky, the illustrator and art director of Ari Forman’s Waltz with Bashir. Polonsky will discuss the techniques that were used to make this unique animated documentary. The talk will be accompanied by clips from the film. A Q and A session will follow and a book signing for the release of a graphic novel based upon the film. $10 members, $15 non-members. No secret password, as far as I know! RSVP to

After the jump, a clip of Harvey Pekar on The David Letterman Show in his more excitable days. He’s mellowed since then (?) Or not. We shall see tomorrow… [Read more…]

Wax: Stop Motion’s Little Known Material

December 28th, 2008

When most people think of stop motion animation, they think of clay or wooden puppets. There are actually quite a few situations where wax is a much better solution.  Animate Clay has a great article about wax, and its use in animation. Some recent uses of wax in stop motion include Jack Skellington in Nightmare Before Christmas, the mouths on the Vinton series The PJ’s, and Fred Stuhrs Tool video for Prison Sex.You may never look at candles the same way again!-Floyd Bishop   

Pencil Us In

December 1st, 2008


In case you missed it in the frenzy of holiday happenings, there was a great article about animation in last Wednesday’s New York Times. “Cartoons Without Computers? Silly Animators!” features the “insurgent element” of modern animation. As far as I can tell, that just means interesting animators of an indie bent, though big budget Henry Selick seems to qualify. (Odd title as well, since many of the artist mentioned DO use computers in one way or another.) But anyway…faves Bill Plympton, Don Hertzfeldt, Signe Baumane, and Alex Budovsky are featured.

In case you were wondering how Bill Plympton gets so much animation done (while managing to actually get out of the house and socialize, and also make appearances at all the major cons and conferences) one tip is that he gets up early!

“I do about 100 drawings a day, which is about 10 an hour, and if I can do that times [Read more…]

Demon Delight

November 17th, 2008


Last week on The Sarah Silverman Show, Sarah gave birth to a demon baby. How did she do it? With the help of stop motion animation. To watch a behind-the-scenes video go here. (Ignore that fact that there are multiple references to “stop animation”.)

The Chiodo Brothers (Killer Clowns From Outer Space) worked on the demon baby construction. Doug Tennapel (Earthworm Jim, Catscratch) also helped with the project. You get to see some glimpses of the original animatic. They also show how they made Doctor Dick Van Paten’s face melt with the help of low-budget tips from Indy Mogul, which offers instructions on using the crayon-wax-and-heat-gun method.

After the jump, a visit to the toy-packed Chiodo Brothers Studio. That Charles Chiodo sure is a good “drawer”!

[Read more…]

Joe Barbera and Bill Hanna explain how to make TV cartoons

November 9th, 2008

Mark Mayerson has posted a great news clip he found from a CBC news story from 1961. In the clip, we see Joe Barbera and William Hanna walk the reporter through the stages of production from the initial layout to the final audio mix. One interesting note is that even though the news clip (and the cartoons at the time) were broadcast in black & white, the cartoons were all produced in color. Joe mentions that when everyone gets to see the cartoons in color, it will be really exciting. I would have to agree.

 -Floyd Bishop

Take YouTube videos with you

October 19th, 2008

If you’re an animation fan like me, you want to watch great cartoons whenever you get the chance. I recently flew to New York from San Diego, and had around 5 hours with nothing to do but sit there. I grabbed my PSP and headed to YouTube (though any mobile device capable of playing .mp4 files will work).

Using a free service called KeepVid, I grabbed several animation related films for the trip. This will drop the videos you link to onto your hard drive in the directory of your choice. You then transfer the video to your mobile device using the same procedures you have been using. Happy watching!

-Floyd Bishop

Pal O Mine and Yours

October 15th, 2008


Thanks to Mark Mayerson for pointing out the presence of two George Pal shorts at Europa Film Treasures, an online archive of important European films. (Mark’s blog Mayerson On Animation is highly recommended, so check it out!)

The first film is “La Grande Revue Philips” (”The Great Philips Revue”). Made to promote the Philips brand of radios, this sassy, stop-motion extravaganza was produced at Dollywood Studio in Holland (where he worked with art director Joop Geesink). (Note: The portrayal of Harlem residents is definitely un-PC.)

Philip funded at least ten Puppetoons. The George Pal Site rounds them up here. (The information on the Pal website leads me to believe that the short on Europa is a combination of footage from “The Little Broadcast” (1935) and “The Big Broadcast of 1938″ (1937). Any experts out there to clear that up?)

Anyway, watch the film here and read more about it on this page.

The other Pal film posted for your viewing pleasure is “Tulips Shall Grow” (1942). It was made for Paramount after Pal fled WWII-era Europe for New York City. The evil Screwballs Army attacks a delightful, cheery, windmill-loving blond couple in a not-so-subtle bit of anti-Nazi animation propaganda. The hardware heavies are ultimately defeated and hardy flowers bloom. YEAH!

Watch it here and learn more on this page.

After the jump, a commercial from post-Pal Dollywood where coffee beans speak in a foreign tongue! [Read more…]

Stop Motion Space Invaders

October 5th, 2008

GAME OVER is just one of several art projects developed by the French-Swiss artist Guillaume Reymond, working with the NOTsoNOISY creative agency. The piece is a series of short films, each one based on a different early video game. Instead of pixels, we see humans in colored shirts moving from seat to seat in a theater.

Other films in the series include Pole Position, Pong, and Tetris.

-Floyd Bishop

Talk Cycle

September 24th, 2008


John Canemaker interviewed Richard Williams Monday night at MOMA. The event was sold out and the place was packed with students, as Willliam’s book The Animator’s Survival Kit is an essential read for animation majors around the world.
Williams is always an entertaining speaker, fond of leaping out of his chair to act out anecdotes. He presented clips from:

  • The Little Island (his first short)
  • A Christmas Carol (his first Oscar win)
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (more Oscars)
  • The Charge of the Light Brigade
  • Return of the Pink Panther titles
  • Amazing “The Greedy” sequence from Raggedy Ann and Andy (animated by Emery Hawkins)
  • Trailer for The Thief and The Cobbler (never released in its proper form)
  • Commercial Reel

The night was very much a chance to promote the release of a 16 DVD version of his well-regarded Animation Masterclass. The Animation Survival Kit Animated consists of Williams “performing” the class live at Blue Sky Studios (about ten years ago) intercut with animated examples that illustrate his ideas. Okay, so the set costs over $900, but at least most art schools will buy one.

After the jump, some choice quotes from the evening. Also, the Return of the Pink Panther titles in teeny tiny form on the ubiquitous YouTube… [Read more…]

Take a Pikapika Peek

August 28th, 2008

Pikapika is an animation technique that uses flashlights. It’s also referred to as “lightning doodle projects”. The YouTube video above gives a sampling of what you can do with the method. There’s a website here and this video explains it all in robotic English.

Check out a smattering of recent Pikapika videos on this YouTube page. Here’s one:

Not to be confused with what is after the jump: [Read more…]