Classic ‘Toons With Nick Cross

BLOG: Time for some classic Saturday morning cartoons. Okay, it’s not Saturday yet, but you can never be too hopeful, right? Gather around the glowing computer as we listen to ol’ Nicholas Cross tell the tale of The Waif of Persephone.

Oh, and in case you thought cartoons about flowers and elves was all Cross could do, check out this sneak peek of his upcoming feature Black Sunrise.

Joshua Frankel’s Previsualization Animation

BLOG: Previsualization animation is one of the reasons why distinctions between categories like “live action” and “animation” in the Oscars are getting harder and harder decipher. Animator Joshua Frankel explains a “previs” like this:

We build scale versions of the characters and sets inside the computer and create virtual cameras with lenses that match exactly the lenses being used by the cinematographer. I then work with the director to block in the actions, design camera moves and cut together a rough edit. We are able to do quite a bit of experimentation before anyone walks on set. The previs becomes a foundation for the sequence that the director can then build upon throughout the rest of the filmmaking process.

Pretty cool. Check out his previs for Twilight here.

When Nana Got Altzheimer’s

BLOG: The multi-platform literary magazine Electric Literature is just really cool. If you’re not familiar, head over to Electricliterature.com to watch videos, or pick up a copy of the print issue on newsstands. Although it occupies many forms, one branch of the project blends top-notch short fiction (from the likes of Colson Whitehead, Mary Otis, and Carson Mell), with top-notch artists – like Jo Derry. Check out her animation for T. Cooper‘s short story Time Machine.

Animation Everywhere

BLOG: This is k-os4321, a video made entirely using pixilation animation. Essentially a stop-motion technique using live action, pixilation creates a stilted effect, and allows actors to take unusual poses, float in mid-air, double up, etc.

This video reminds us of Rebecca Keegan’s recent article in the LA Times Envelope, which posed an urgent question: How do we define live action? With more and more live action films and videos utilizing animation techniques, not only the Oscars but filmmakers and animators at large face a puzzling (and, some would say, exciting) quandary. How do we classify what is live and what is animated – and how long until it stops mattering?

New York animator Joshua Frankel has graciously provided evidence of previsualization animation he worked on for several films, including The Twilight Saga: Eclipse and I Am Legend. Previs allows directors to block out a scene through animation before trying it with live actors, so they can see what camera angles work best, which lighting to use, how long a sequence should last, how characters should be composed in a scene, etc. The final production ends up as a seamless live action.

Aftershave Banana

BLOG: V8 commissioned LA-based studio Buck to craft this very odd ad-within-an-ad. Though I must admit I’m surprised Aftershave Banana isn’t actually on the market, I wonder if it’s just really good advertising.

Strawberry Swings

ColdplayMusicMore Music Videos
MUSIC VIDEO: From their fourth studio album Viva la Vida or Death And All His Friends, produced by Brian Eno, Coldplay’s Strawberry Swing garnered significant attention for both its driving rhythm and melody, as well as the “dreamlike weirdness” of its animated video. The music video, directed by UK collective Shynola (who, notably, crafted the Scott Pilgrim title sequence as well as Coldplay’s #1 Paradise just a year later), was noted both at the UK Music Video Awards and the MTV VMAs  for “Best Animation” and “Breakthrough Video” respectively. Enjoy.

Can’t We All Just Get Along?

BLOG: YungHan Chang‘s quiet little short about a shopkeeper in an age of rampant anti-robotism is a sweet tale of humanity and brotherly love across the species. Chang’s drawing style, combined with the movement and energy of hand-drawn animation, makes this short a win. If you get tired of the scant dialogue, you can always just look at the pretty pictures.