Monday, May 18, 2009

Abe Levitow Notes on Animating

Animation drawing by Abe Levitow :

Mark Mayerson has posted a set of Notes on Animating by the master Warner Bros. animator Abe Levitow.

Click through the link to read the notes:

Notes on Animating by Abe Levitow

The last paragraph of Levitow's notes resonates now more than ever given the current precarious position of hand-drawn animation:

"Even though the Disney animator Marc Davis has said:  'Animation is an anachronism; it is that rarity, a handmade product in a mechanized age', the satisfaction gained from doing it well is the kind of satisfaction that can only be gotten by creating something with your own hands that no one has ever done before.  It's a sublime feeling ... you'll see !!"

Abe Levitow animation drawing :

(these great drawings are from the Abe Levitow webpage. Go there to see more of Abe's drawings.)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

More Animation Tutorials - Tony White's Desktop Academy

Seems like everywhere I look these days people are posting tutorials and training videos for classical hand-drawn animation .

The latest tutorial website to go up is Tony White's Desktop Academy of Traditional Animation.

He has the first free tutorial up on the subject of Keys, Extremes, and Inbetweening:

Desktop Academy Tutorial 01 - Inbetweening

For those of you who don't know about him, Tony is the author of the excellent books

"The Animator's Workbook",

"Animation from Pencils to Pixels ~ Classical Techniques for Digital Animators"

and the new book

"How to Make Animated Films" (to be released in June, 2009)

Saturday, May 9, 2009

New "Princess & The Frog" trailer

First "official" trailer for Disney's new hand-drawn animated feature "The Princess & The Frog" ---

High Quality Quicktime .mov version of trailer

Looks beautiful. I'm looking forward to later this year :

August - Ponyo on a Cliff by the Sea

December - The Princess & The Frog

Yay !

Drawing for Animation: Construction

James Baxter demonstrates how to construct a character for animation:

If you've not seen the sequence that James supervised for Kung Fu Panda go watch it here:

Kung Fu Panda Opening Dream Sequence

Also, as I mentioned a few posts below , Don Bluth has been posting some animation tutorials on YouTube to promote his longer Animation Tutorial DVD's . These clips are excerpts from the longer videos, but contain some good information on how to construct a cartoon character for animation:

And here's an interesting demonstration by Glen Keane on how he approaches animating a scene. Glen's initial approach is to get the feeling , to capture the "forces" that are animating the character from the inside.

Each of these artists has their own approach to drawing, but all have in common their use of the principle of constructing the character from basic forms in a rough drawing before going over top of those forms to draw the details of the character in outline. (it's like drawing from the "inside out") One thing I've noticed is that a lot of students are still trying to draw too "clean" , drawing in outline , but without any structure underneath the outlines of the drawings.

New Sub-section of blog: Animation Equipment

In the sidebar notice there is now a link to a new sub-section of this blog:   Hand-Drawn Animation Equipment which has sources and suggestions for setting up an animation workspace.

Most of the sources are the same ones listed to the right in the sidebar under the Links to "Animation Supplies"  and "Animation Software" ,  but I thought it would be useful to have a page with photos of the various kinds of animation desks, discs, etc. that are available.  I've also included some Do-It-Yourself instructions for those you who would prefer to build your own desk.

(photo by Dan Caylor)                                                                  

Monday, May 4, 2009

Ponyo watch

Posted below is a new "Ponyo On A Cliff by the Sea" trailer, from the French-language release.

This is all hand-drawn, from director Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli. Those who have seen it describe it as “very similar to 'My Neighbor Totoro' in tone, with a simpler plot that focuses more on the emotions of the young protagonists than anything else, and the animation is gorgeous.”

As usual, Daniel Thomas MacInnes' "The Ghibli Blog: Conversations on Ghibli" provides the best coverage leading up to the U.S. release of the film (by Disney) on August 14, 2009 :

Ponyo stills, clips , and other coverage on The Ghibli Blog

The U.S. release is supervised and produced by Frank Marshall, Kathleen Kennedy, Hayao Miyazaki, John Lasseter, Steve Alpert .

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Don Bluth Animation Tips

I like to use this blog to post links to inspirational material or practical resources wherever they may be found. You can never read enough or practice enough when it comes to animation, so I see this blog as a supplement to what we're teaching you in your online classes.

I recently became aware that Don Bluth has been making a series of Animation Tutorials on DVD.

Don has generously posted some sample videos for free on his web site .

Obviously the sample videos are to whet your appetite to purchase the full-length tutorials on DVD, but even the samples have some great "nuts & bolts" basic info. on animation. I suggest you check them out , especially if you are new to hand-drawn animation:

Basic Tutorial on Doing a Character Turn-around, Pegging, and Labeling drawings

Animating a Walk Cycle

Animating a small Bird in Flight