Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Pumpkin of Nyefar - beautiful animated short !

Wow !

Watch this great animated short posted on Cartoon Brew TV:

The Pumpkin of Nyefar (2004) is a short directed by Tod Polson (El Tigre, Another Froggy Evening, Poochini). The story was co-written by Maurice Noble (1911-2001), who began his animation career at Disney in the 1930s, and eventually designed many of Chuck Jones’s classic Warner Bros. cartoons including Duck Dodgers in the 24½th Century and What’s Opera, Doc?. The film is narrated by June Foray (the voice of Rocky in Rocky and Bullwinkle). Below is a some background information about the film from its director Tod Polson. Tod will also participating in the comments section and looks forward to your comments and questions.

“In 1994, Maurice Noble began training a group of young designers at Chuck Jones Film Productions. A lot of us were working on our own personal short projects, several of them based on ethnic folktales. Maurice thought it would be a great idea if the group of us could develop a series of shorts inspired by stories from around the world. We called this series “Noble Tales,” and we, his trainees, became known as the “Noble Boys” (which also included a few girls). Many of us traveled around the world and developed and together designed several dozen idea. “The Pumpkin Of Nyefar” was one short idea Maurice and I wrote while visiting Turkey. Our first morning in Istanbul we came downstairs to the dining room and around the table were twenty belly dancers and a lot of pumpkin dishes. All the girls of course were smitten by Mr. Nobles charm. Ha ha… I can still see him grinning from ear to ear.
 Afterwords we talked things over, and decided to write a story about a prince who could marry any beauty in his kingdom, but instead chooses to wait for true love. As fate would have it, the prince finds true love in the form of a pumpkin. While I was supervising a TV show in Thailand, James Wang (Wang Film) invited Maurice and I to use his Thai studio to make our short. Maurice underwent surgery so that he could make the flight to Bangkok. Unfortunately he died a few weeks later. I came to Thailand a few months later to work on the short myself. But my friends didn’t leave me to do the film alone. Soon after, my pal Mark Oftedal, came to town for a visit. His short vacation, turned into a several year working holiday, He became so involved with the project, that I just made him the co-director of “Pumpkin:. Other friends from America helped out too. June Foray donated her voice to the film. Ben Jones, and Lawrence Marvit both did short stints in Bangkok to help get things going. Sue Kroyer did a lot of inspirational character design as did Roman Laney. Jules Engel looked over a lot of the early design and color. Aaron Sorenson, Dave Marshall, Dave Thomas, and Mike Polvani all donated time to the project.

It was really a great collaboration of friends, just the way Maurice had dreamed about: doing a short film together, everything donated, just because they wanted to do it.”

Now that's the spirit ! 

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Sherm Cohen's Sponge Bob drawing tips

Hey , Kids !  What time is it ? 

Time to talk about more fundamentals.   (never get tired of those , because we all need to remember this stuff and use it in our work) .

Ace storyboard artist Sherm Cohen has posted some good stuff about Line-Of-Action,  Contrasting Shapes, Silhouette, and all that jazz on his blog Cartoon Snap 

Take a look .   Good examples of these foundational principles.

(click image to view it larger. More images on Sherm's blog.)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Bacher's Back !

Good news for all students of animation:

Hans Bacher is blogging again !   This is one to add to the bookmarks: 

Hans' book "Dreamworlds" on production design is a must-have.

Check out this great post where he analyzes the color palette in these beautiful background paintings from "Bambi"  --

(click the image to view it larger)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Eric Goldberg's 'Character Animation Crash Course'

Master animator Eric Goldberg's long-awaited book has finally been released.  

Character Animation Crash Course  is now available at your local bookstores (check Barnes & Noble or Borders , or online at Amazon.com) 

I have treasured my xeroxed copies of Eric's lecture notes from animation lectures he gave us at Disney several years back and now I am so glad to have all of this material , plus some new material that Eric has added to expand his notes, all bound together in neat little package , including a CD which has Quicktime movies of many of the animation examples he shows in the book. 

Eric is one of the best animators working today . This book will perfectly compliment the Richard Williams book . Some of the material will overlap , but Eric's approach to the material has a different flavor than Richard Williams' approach , so you'll get something new from Eric's book , even if you have the Williams book .

At Academy of Art we're not yet using this as a Required Textbook for any of our animation classes since it was just published over the summer,  but I can say without any hesitation to all of my students: This is a must-have book for any animator, student or pro.

The website Animated News and Views has a recent interview with Eric where he discusses the book:

Interview with Eric Goldberg on "Character Animation Crash Course"