Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Pencil Test Depot - great resource

Add this one to your bookmarks and check it frequently:

The Pencil Test Depot

This collection (which is ever-growing) of pencil tests was put together by animator Jamaal Bradley who writes:

"The Pencil Test Depot blog is for the people who love pencil tests. It can also be used as a resource for animators who are looking to study another animators work."

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Thoughts from Brad Bird

I came across this quote from Brad Bird on CartoonBrew recently:

"It’s also worth noting that (Wall Street) analysts are always bullish about any studios whose production slates are loaded with sequels, remakes, and “re-boots”.

This particular poverty of imagination is absolutely mainstream thinking when it comes to businessmen, who are all about recognizing patterns of success that they assume are repeatable… no matter how often that very approach fails.

They always try to copy the original THING rather than the CONDITIONS that allowed the original thing to come into being."

– Brad Bird

He totally nails it. They try to copy the original thing rather than the conditions that allowed the original thing to come into being. Exactly.

"Hey, make me something like Bugs Bunny... yeah, that's it , give me the New Bugs Bunny" , they say , instead of considering "What were the conditions operating at the time of the Leon Schlesinger Studio that caused the artists working there to create characters like Bugs Bunny?" Why not try to replicate those creative conditions that gave rise to those classic cartoons and then see what happens ?

Also for more thoughts along those lines from Brad Bird, read this article from the McKinsey Quarterly on Fostering Innovation , which has been around for a couple of years, but is worth reading again if you've seen it before, or if you missed it the first time around take a look:

This link is to an excerpt from the full article. To read the full article you'll need to subscribe to The McKinsey Quarterly.

Among the gems from this interview with Brad Bird are :

Lesson Five: High Morale Makes Creativity Cheap

The Quarterly: It sounds like you spend a fair amount of time thinking about the morale of your teams.

Brad Bird: In my experience, the thing that has the most significant impact on a movie’s budget—but never shows up in a budget—is morale.

If you have low morale, for every $1 you spend, you get about 25 cents of value. If you have high morale, for every $1 you spend, you get about $3 of value. Companies should pay much more attention to morale.

Again, he's talking about creating the conditions under which creativity can flourish.


In a similar vein these thoughts from Frank Zappa about the demise of the music industry which can be applied directly to most of the animation industry today (in the first 2:10 of this interview) :

(from CartoonBrew.com)


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Sylvain Chomet's "The Illusionist"

"The Illusionist" from a script by Jacques Tati , directed by Sylvain Chomet ("The Triplettes of Belleville")

The film is near completion (post-production) . Pathe is releasing in Europe, but no word on a U.S. release yet.

Latest images of the film released by Pathe (via Victor Ens' blog)

(click on images to see them larger)

The film is about “a dying breed of stage entertainer whose thunder is being stolen by emerging rock stars. Forced to accept increasingly obscure assignments in fringe theaters, garden parties and bars, he meets a young fan who changes his life forever.”

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Milt Kahl pencil test - King Louis and Mowgli

Some Milt Kahl pencil test goodness :

(a drawing or two are missing, so a couple of bumps not there in the original , but this is pretty much complete)

Friday, September 4, 2009

"The Cat Piano" by Eddie White and Ari Gibson

Beautiful hand-drawn animation and design in the short film "The Cat Piano" by Eddie White and Ari Gibson of the People's Republic of Animation Studio .

(click through to the link on Vimeo to watch in HD.)

Model sheet of The Poet from "The Cat Piano"

© People's Republic of Animation

See the production blog:
"The Cat Piano" Production Blog