The Christmas UBER Post

Well here it is, a massive post with hours of stuff to rummage through over the next month. I'll be taking a break from the blog until after Christmas but there should be something here for everyone.

because I fear some of you don't have the attention span to get through all of this stuff (don't worry I'm sure its not you I'm talking about ;), I'm going to start with the thing that I think is the best and from which you can learn the most. It's a lecture by Glen Keane (probably the best traditional character animator in the land) that he gave at Calarts some years ago. I'm gona follow that with a pod cast of my own pointing out some of my favorite parts from the lecture and things that I think are particularly relevant to you.

And here is SBIT ANIMATION RANT 02, consisting of me pratling on about the Glen Keane lecture.

Next up is a real rarity, Rejean Bourdages a story artist from Dreamworks gives a lecture on the art of "pitching" a storyboard. This is a craft about which there are no text books or how to tutorials, in fact its the only specific information about doing it I've come across in my whole career. Its real practical stuff too, like where you should be looking as you run through a sequence and so on.






Next up is some Richard Williams stuff (for any who don't know the name yet, he's the guy who wrote "the Animators Survival Kit"). First up is a Documentary about the early part of his career in which he talks about having started his epic film about a thief and a cobbler. One of my favorite scenes here is when they show an inbetweener bringing in his scene for Richard to check, the poor guy gets shot down in flames big time, it takes me back to my old Disney days.

Zip ahead another 10 or 15 years and Richard Williams has just finished being the animation director on Who Framed Roger rabbit and he is STILL working on his epic story about a thief and a cobbler. There is some overlap between this and the previous doco, but its worth sitting through for the new bits. One thing to watch out for is where Richard explains in person how he animates a walk, it's the same technique I teach in class.

So what happened next I hear you ask, well you wont find any documentaries about that, it's one of the biggest and most notorious disasters ever in the history of animation. After so long and so much work Richard ran out of money, and he was forced to go looking around for someone to help him finish it. He took it to Disney and they passed on it, then a few years later they released Aladdin (oh what a coincidence) decreasing the value of Richards film even further. Now it just looked like a try hard version of Aladdin, even though it was probably the other way around. Finally a Canadian studio bought the whole film from Richard and proceeded to butcher it, they added songs, made character talk that didn't before, and they chopped the story to bits (at times not even bothering to match the colours of the character properly between Richards animation and their own). What was released as the "Princes and the cobbler" (that you can find in any video store these days) was a mere shadow of Richards original concept. BUT! Thanks to the miracle that is the internet and Youtube, you can see a version that is much closer to the original. Someone has rummaged around to find as many old bits (pencil tests, storyboards) as they could and edited them together with the released version, chopping out the crappy new bits. Its grand!

Here is a video of John Lasseter at this years Anncey festival (Ithink) talking about how he plans to get Disney back into 2D animation now that he is in charge.



Now for some Disney stuff.
To start an old doco about the making of Jungle book.

Here is a clip showing Disney's first fiddlings with 3D animation back in the day.

And here is an interesting look at Tarzan, with the storyboards compared to the final scenes.

And to finish things off we look at the emergence of a genius. Back in the 80's Steven Spielberg produced a TV show called Amazing Stories, it was kind of like the Twilight Zone but with an emphasis on the magical rather than the scary. Each episode was made up of three short and they were all live action accept for one. Spielberg decided to give young animator named Brad Bird a go at directing a film. The result was the Family Dog, and its brilliant, try to remember when your watching this that nothing like this had ever been made before, this was years before the Simpons.

Well that's it, Have a good break everyone and I'll see ya on the other side of Christmas. Cheers


Lisa said...

sweet. lots to chew over for xmas. thanks Ian, and have a great xmas yourself!

Ian said...

Tezky posted this comment about the Thief and the Cobler a few posts down, I thought I'd post it here incase it sparked a conversation.

Tezky said...

on a completely different topic, i watched all of "The Thief and the Cobbler". man that's a great animated flick. i absolutely love Zig Zag, those 5 fingers and a thumb on each hand is the coolest thing ever, plus he has such magnificent acting and his movement are so unique, that walk cycle when you first see Zig Zag with his funny shoes is awesome. and don't get me started on those radical simplistic backgrounds that defy all sense of perspective, brilliant!

anyway just thought you'd like to know that.

4:39 PM

Ian said...
Hey Tez

Seems to me you could have commented on the post that actually contained the film you’re talking about, but anyway I guess this will do. I remember from Richards’s animation master class that he called that style "two and a half D" and it was meant to mimic a tapestry style. Zigzags walk is created just by varying the extreme and passing point poses (with a few bit layered over the top, like the shoes). Another great example of Richards walk/run technique is when the Brigand comes running in yelling "Caravan". That scene is in the DVD version and if you flick through the frames the passing points and extremes are amazing.