Thursday, September 23, 2010

Movie Trailer - A Major Project Option

This just in from Alice in 2nd year:

The second year animators have been planning and animating their major projects for at least 10 weeks. The learning curve is as steep as the Y spline in a ball bounce. Some ideas for grand narratives are trimming down in the quest for good quality animation.

Today the animators researched some of the productions from other animation students (the northern hemisphere students present their work mid year). The results were eye popping and have to be shared. It was an excellent research session.

The clips below come from research done by Al.

When a narrative project is trimmed to the bare essentials it can still make a very satisfying "movie trailer". A movie trailer has the same amount of animation as a standard animation demo reel but carries the extra zing of context. In a movie trailer a character has a reason to run, jump, yawn, laugh, push, kick.

Here are some clips from some French animators. They were students but left school to pusue their project their own way. At school they would have worked in teams to produce the clips that run for under a minute. Check out the links from the clips on Vimeo to the planning blogs and check out the artwork and planning done by each animator.

I wonder, if in 2011, we might make the major projects in teams? See this post on Cartoon Brew.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Music Video by Maik Hempel

Australian Animation Director and Brisbanite Maik Hempel.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Usher - Ryan Spargo & International Animation Day 2010

2009 Southbank Animation course graduate Ryan Spargo will have his student film featured on a DVD of international students' work. The DVD's are being shared across the planet and will be screened internationally to celebrate International Animation Day on October 30th.

Well done Ryan! And well done Stuart McNair, the sound designer who collaborated with Ryan on the film.

More 2009 graduate success stories: Jess and Dana

Monday, September 20, 2010

Feed the Kitty (1951)

One of my all time favourites. Directed by Chuck Jones. Check out how they handled the smear frames. Look at the amazing character animation and interactions. This short film was referenced in a scene in Monster's Inc.

Monday, September 13, 2010

What happens next year? Paris or pizza?

No matter where you plan to go or what you plan to do, keep animating, improving your skills, sketching your ideas and updating your reel.

Today in class some second years were outlining their plans for after they graduate.

The conversation took us down the path of further study. As compared to employment, work experience, or freeing your lance and chasing the festival circuit to build a reputation.

Be creative. Sometimes it takes some thinking. Consider getting a job as a pizza delivery person, as long as you are delivering pizza to the animators at the studio at which you wish to work. There is an animator, in our very building at SBIT, who tells the tale of applying for a parking attendant job at a studio and eventually animating on a feature film.

Two animators are currently in the articulation process to the Griffith University animation course. Four others are looking at a further year of study. One animator has done an interstate research trip and met some people. One student expressed a wish to study at Ringling College in the USA.

Last week a first year animator was mapping out their student path and we gathered some information about links to the Queensland University of Technology animation course. In that discussion animators were encouraged to research a 'summer school' somewhere, with my preference being, arguably the best animation school in the world, besides the Southbank Institute of Technology, Gobelins in Paris (from personal experience).

One of the second year animators expressed an interest at studying at Gobelins. My first bit of advice is to start learning French. If an animator can produce a good reel of student work, they may get accepted to attend the Gobelins summer school, which happens in our long mid-year break. Summer in Paris. It needs some planning and saving. The summer school may lead further to an invitation to apply for the Gobelins animation course.

Here is Eric Riewer, head of international relations at Gobelins, talking about what makes a good student film (and the Gobelins school demonstrate annually that they know about that) and how animators are selected for the school.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


The illustrations above are by Bryan Ballinger. Bryan has a university degree in illustration. He is also a professor of Digital Media Arts at Huntington University in Indiana USA. So the intro should actually read as Prof. Bryan Ballinger. Why is he drawing like that and what has it got to do with animation?

The more we study animation the more we understand that it takes a lot of work to make simplicity look good. Or does it?

It might just be a matter of practice. Well, yes, it is a matter of practice. A simple practise based in fun and free sketching. Simplicity, like animation, is learnt in the doing. Sometimes burdening a course of study with the term "hard work" too much, too often, sucks the fun out of things.

By setting our ruff feet firmly on a foundation of the 13 principles of animation, an animation student gets the secrets to making a simple character animate with Appeal (well, c'mon, if I'm going to be constantly juggling 13 Animation Principles, eventually I have to drop one... into a blog post).

The first years just handed in a 2D character animation. A few of them discovered the power of simplicity as an animation tool. The second years are wrestling with their major projects and some are learning that planning for simplicity in design may have allowed a bigger sleep budget in the production schedule.

The end result is that as animators we should get out our simplicity and exercise it.

Here is a blog post entitled "Exercising my Simplicity" on Breadwig that some of the drawing, sketching, illustrating animators may enjoy? (and the self assigned* non-drawers may find a spark of inspiration). Also check out .

I found Breadwig via Keith Lango's blog. The simplicity theme is inspired by Simon's Cat, Alexeev's Forest Trio, and Cameron Miyazaki's balls. *I believe everyone can draw.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Le Royaume - Gobelins

The Gobelins Animation School in Paris has a new crop of student films to watch. Let's start with this one.

Simon's Cat - "The Box"

I love these short films. He understands cats and that cat owners are fascinated by their cats.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Despicable Me - It's so Fluffy!

Minions, after waiting for over a year, I loved Despicable Me.

(A link to this blog's February post about Despicable Me).

All the better in seeing the film with a sketchcrawl of animation students on a field trip. I have mentioned before, on a comment on Luke's blog, that the appreciation of a film experience is a lot to do with whom you enjoyed a film, the comfort of the cinema in which it was shown, the quality of the coffee being sipped in the previews and the buzz of the chatter in the denouement.

Well that fieldtrip was 'once through for entertainment'. Now we'll have to watch it for animation study (I love being an animation student).

Keith Lango posted a review in July but I had to wait to read it until after we saw the film on its release in September.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Today I am an Animation Student

Today is my first day at school. I am an animation student (again). I love being an animation student. So now, by day I am an animation teacher. By night I fight crime ... er um ... I am an animation student.

My teacher for first semester is Jacob Gardner. He is a Dreamworks animator... Monsters Vs Aliens, Shrek Forever After, and Megamind. He is also co-founder of the animation website

Here is a film I find appealing that Jacob collaborated on before he became an employed animator (below). This is Jacob's film. I am just basking in his animation goodness.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Brothers McLeod

Ideas for stop mo' animation styles.

Stream-of-consciousness sketch by Greg McLeod

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Balance and Yellow

Balance in a key pose is important. It is important for the visual communication of believability between the animator and the viewer through the character. Otherwise the viewer will sense that something aint quite right and not find appeal in the animation. Yep, the animation principle of Appeal.

Balance, Line of Action, Psychological Gestures, Meaningful Symbolism all form a part of posing. Posing can be thought of within the animation principle of Solid Drawing. But it also features, by name, in the principle of Animation Type, when talking about Pose-to-Pose animation.

Balance is influenced by gravity. Gravity does not automatically exist on a piece of paper or in animation software. So an animator has to practice with gravity some other way to work out how to show it in animation. One way is to "Act It Out".

The other way is to pose a character who is influenced by gravity. Introducing "Yellow". (I think the pose below is the pose Jess - 2nd Yr - created).

Hello Yellow

If the computer screen has fraznicked your thinking, spend some refresh time posing "Yellow". He resides inside the digital camera box.

Yellow appears on some second year blogs already: Sarah P (the first one to achieve balance on one leg) and Cassie V.

Workplace health and safety warning notice: 1 leg poses should only be attempted by 2nd years. Do not attempt to act out poses found on these blogs at home without clearance from your physiotherapist.