Jan 30, 2010

Ub Werks - Amanda Bonaiuto 1-30-10


Paying a little homage to Walt Disneys modest side kick Ub Iwerks. I really enjoy the relationship dynamic between Disney and Ub Iwerks. They complemented each other so well that I wonder if either of them would have been as successful without the other close by. I feel that Ub didn't get the public credit that he deserved for being Disney's right hand man, but at the same time, judging by this article, I doubt it even mattered to him because he was so humble and unassuming. As far as I see it, without Iwerks, Disney may not have made it quite so far, and Mickey Mouse could potentially not exist.

Jan 28, 2010

Modern Zoetrope ! - Yael Silverman

Lately a lot of advertisers have been using traditional forms of animation in their commercials, and it is awesome! Toyota has been using stop motion in recent ads, but what was most relevant to our last class was the outstanding antics of sony bravia's latest endeavor. Many may remember the million colorful balls bouncing down a main street in San Francisco, but check out the biggest zoetrope created in history.


yeah. pretty awesome. I figure they replace the loop inside the zoetrope with projected image, so that they can screen more than one loop. Amazing.

- Yael !

Jan 27, 2010

Little Nemo...Stephen Bevilacqua

I'm not much of writer so I try to not embarrass myself enough. The section of the last weeks class I most appreciate was discovering the origin of one of my favorite characters from childhood "Little Nemo". Winsor McCay original silent short was stunning and groundbreaking. The beautiful images that were put together to create one of America first loving animations.

Felix the cat

Felix the cat is one of the most famous American cartoon characters. The original owner of the character, Pat Sullivan insisted that he also created Felix. His claim was disputed by Sullivan's lead animator, Otto Messmer though. Felix is contemporaneous with Mickey Mouse and was initially competing in popularity with Disney's creation. At the dawn of "talkies" and after the introduction of "Steamboat Willie", Felix's success started to fade.
Some of the more interesting topics that Felix cartoons deal with include the Prohibition, alcoholism, and in one particular cartoon, there is a character contemplating committing suicide. (Definitely PG-13 material!)
I found "Woos Whoopee" on youtube and thought the looping (reusing the same couple of frames to get more movement/more screen time) was really successful and almost seamless. The alcohol infused hallucinations reminded me of Emile Cohl's surreal "Hasher's Delirium".
Note the racist and sexist overtones...


(Information from http://www.felixthecat.com and wikipedia)

Posted by Eszter

I hope I did this right... Anthony Bevilacqua

I really enjoyed learning about the history of ANIMATION. I particularly found the subject of POV or Persistence Of Vision to be especially interesting. From the simplistically brilliant design of the Thaumatrope, to the revolutionary idea of the Flip Book. All of which I never would have even associated with the field of animation. This is probably because my understanding of the definition of "animation" to date is admittedly very crude. I was completely oblivious as to just how much fell under the category, all the while my general impression was that it didn't extend much further than saturday morning cartoons. I also appreciated being educated as to the humble beginnings of Little Nemo; a character from a children's film that I had grown tremendously fond of while I was growing up. That Winsor McCay was definitely a guy of pure imagination and creativity.

Anthony Bevilacqua.

Mutoscope Film 1904


I think the Mutoscope is probably the most familiar form of early animation for me, so it was the one I was immediately attracted to. I thought this was a neat old film about a dancer named Princess Rajah and her crazy chair dance, enjoy!!

James Stuart Blackton

From the ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive:

James Stuart Blackton was a "Lightning Sketch Artist" in Vaudeville billed as "The Komikal Kartoonist". Inspired by Thomas Edison's recent invention of moving pictures, Blackton teamed with Albert E. Smith to form the first movie studio, Vitagraph Motion Pictures.

Smith and Blackton created what were then called "Trick Films"... the camera was stopped for a moment while the scene was changed, making things magically appear and disappear; images dissolved from one to another; and shots were double exposed to create ghostly images. In 1900, Blackton experimented with putting his lightning sketch act on film in a movie called "The Enchanted Drawing", but it was in April of 1906 when he made his most important breakthrough. In a trick film titled "Humorous Phases of Funny Faces" Blackton created what is regarded as the first American animated film.

The hand of the artist draws faces and characters on a chalkboard. They come to life- smile and wink- a man smokes a cigar and blows smoke in a lady's face, a circus clown leads a small dog to jump through a hoop... By today's standards, the animation is quite primitive, but to audiences to whom live action films were still a marvel, they were magical. Imagine it... Drawings that move.

Although there were many early films that experimented with stop motion and other techniques related to animation, Blackton was the first to create "drawings that live"... sequential drawings of characters acting and reacting to each other. The word "animate" literally means 'to give life to'. Blackton gave life to a whole new artform with his pioneering efforts.

Eadweard Muybridge

Eadweard Muybridge (born Edward Muybridge, April 9th 1830) moved from England to San Francisco in 1855. After beginning his career as a publisher and a bookseller, Muybridge returned to England at the end of the 1850's due to head injuries gained in a stagecoach accident. He returned to San Francisco in 1866 as a photographer, which he became famous for.

In 1874, Muybridge was contacted by Leland Stanford, a race-horse owner and ex-Governor of California. Stanford commissioned Muybridge to prove his claim that at some point during a horses gallop all four hooves are off the ground. Muybridge developed the process of instantaneous motion picture capture to take multiple photographs while the horse was galloping. This project was put on hold in 1874, when Muybridge was charged for murdering Major Harry Larkyns, who he suspected to be his wife's lover, by shooting him with a shot gun. An insanity plea due to his previous head injury was dismissed, even though friends had testified that it changed hid personality for the worse. It was soon ruled as justifiable homicide and acquitted. Stanford had paid for Muybridge's criminal defense throughout the trial.

Muybridge then returned to the horse project, which he finished successfully. However, his relationship with Stanford came to an end in 1882, when Stanford commissioned a book on the project and not only omitted Muybridge's photographs but also gave him very little credit. This led Muybridge filing a lawsuit, which was unsuccessful.

Muybridge also went to Central America in 1877, after the acquittal of his murder trial, to take photographs. There, he had a son, whom he put up in an orphanage upon his return to the states.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Muybridge

Winsor McCay!

So I was going to post about early animation toys and devices, but unfortunately all the websites I knew about were from Lorelei! Sooo I was looking around about Winsor McCay because he is one of my favorite comic artists/animators and I found a library on all the Little Nemo comics:

The Little Nemo: Aventures in Slumberland!

Be prepared to spend hours on that site. And sorry it wasn't really related to animation per say... ah well.

AXIOM Presents: Jeffrey Jacobson: Virtual Reality Technology and The Virtual Egyptian Temple

Tuesday February 2, 2010 7-9pm Suggested Donation $8 general, $5 ATNE members

Above images
Left: Both students see this abstract shape,
a visualization of a mathematical formula.

Right: The Virtual Egyptian Temple in the Earth Theater,
Carnegie Museum of Pittsburgh

Axiom and ATNE (Art Technology new England) are proud to welcome Jeffrey Jacobson, Ph.D. who will talk about and demonstrate,Virtual Reality (VR) as a new artistic medium. Virtual Reality first captured the public imagination fifteen years ago, allowing us to extend our social spaces from the physical into the electronic creating dynamic mixed realities. Recently, the term has expanded from the old-fashioned flight simulators and three-dimensional optical displays to computer games and shared worlds on the internet. In this discussion, we will survey the existing technologies and their uses. We will discuss the human elements, how the sensory illusions work, and how they become "real" when imbued with meaning. In the second half Dr. Jacobson will demonstrate "CaveUT," a free open-source tool for creating a low-cost panoramic window into virtual worlds you can design www.publicvr.org. The demonstration will be a guided tour of the Virtual Egyptian Temple, and interactive 3D virtual space. The temple is an idealized, stylized, exemplar of a late period temple constructed from authentic source materials, including virtual duplicates of genuine artifacts. The current temple is showing at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh and is part of their K-12 educational programming. PublicVR's Interns from Boston areas colleges are currently working on a version for the web and dome theaters.

When/// Feb 2, 2010 7-9 pm

Where/// AXIOM Center for New and Experimental Media - 141 Green Street
located in the Green Street T Station on the Orange Line

More/// Become a fan of AXIOM on Facebook and Twitter

AXIOM is located on the ground floor level of the Green Street Subway ("T") station on the Orange line, at the corner of Amory and Green Streets in Jamaica Plain, MA
AXIOM Center for New and Experimental Media focuses on new and experimental media, with an interest in technology based, innovative combinations of sculpture, installation and live performance. AXIOM has had a history of success in bringing together members of the new media community as well as outreaching to the general public, along with emerging and established artists working within the realm of new media.

Encouraging and Supporting Experimentation in the Arts through Exhibition, Education, Resources and Collaboration

For more information, visit www.axiomart.org or call 617-676-5904

Axiom and ATNE are programs of Boston Cyberarts

Jan 26, 2010

Early Peep Shows

A peep show or peepshow is an exhibition of pictures, objects or people viewed through a small hole or magnifying glass. This may or may not be a sex show, although the latter kind has eventually become the most common usage of the term since the advent of cinema and television. which largely replaced the various kinds of entertainment provided by wandering showmen.
The earliest known peep shows are the perspective views said to have been painted in transparent colors on glass and lighted from behind for various effects, from sunshine to moonlight, by Leon Battista Alberti in 1437.

Jan 25, 2010

Méliès, the Master of Illusion


"The Man with the Rubber Head" (L'Homme A La Tete En Caoutchouc, 1901) in its original format is regarded as one of Georges Méliès most remarkable works. In the film, Méliès plays the part of a scientist who has made a copy of his own head, and has discovered that he can make it expand to gigantic proportions and shrink back to its original size. As pioneer in early cinematic visual effects, Méliès achieved the illusion through a series of in-camera edits with the use of mattes and double exposures.

Méliès' work was also greatly influential to other early filmmakers, who were exploring the possibilities of illusions. The theme and the effects used in his film, "A Trip to the Moon" were appropriated by the Spanish filmmaker Segundo de Chomon in his film, "An Excursion to the Moon," shot in 1908.


A more in depth critique of the films of
Georges Méliès can be read at:


Jan 24, 2010


Lorelei Pepi, an SMFA Visiting faculty, taught animation in Harvard's VES program for 3 years before coming to the SMFA. Her work-in-progress, "Happy & Gay" is included in this exhibition.

January 28–Feb 14, 2010
Reception Thursday, February 4, 5:30-6:30 pm

Caroline Leaf, Sand, or Peter and the Wolf, 1969, still from the collection of the Harvard Film Archive.

The Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts at Harvard University presents Frame by Frame: Animated at Harvard, an exhibition showcasing Harvard’s animation history: rarely-seen films retrieved from the Harvard Film Archive, works by world-renowned recent animation faculty, and a survey of films by current and former students of the department.

The birth of animation at Harvard goes back to the opening of the Carpenter Center in 1963. Former director Robert Gardner engaged John and Faith Hubley as teachers, the first in a long line of distinguished animators to teach at Harvard. In the mid-1960s, Derek Lamb, via the Film Board of Canada in Montreal, taught and mentored Caroline Leaf and Eli Noyes, both pioneers in their field. Subsequent faculty in animation have included Jan Lenica, George Griffin, Mary Beams, Frank Mouris, David Anderson, Dennis Pies, Janet Perlman, Suzan Pitt, Caroline Leaf, Piotr Dumala, Steven Subotnick, Wendy Tilby, Lorelei Pepi, Michaela Pavlatova, Simon Pummell, and Andreas Hykade. Ruth Lingford is currently professor of the practice of animation, and the 2009-10 visiting faculty are David Lobser, Dan Sousa, and Sarah Jane Lapp.

Animation tends to be a condensed art form, using metamorphosis and metaphor to collide and expand meaning. In this way it resembles poetry. It is a way of expressing and communicating invisible, abstract ideas, allowing us to analyze and deconstruct time and to understand movement as both a liquid flow and a sequence of distinct infinitesimals. While only a few students specialize in animation for their final thesis work, a wide range of students take one or two animation classes during their time at Harvard. Students are encouraged to use the particular demands and rewards of animation to help them think differently about the world.

Maya Erdelyi, plume, 2006

Frame by Frame: Animated at Harvard will feature classic films from the Harvard Film Archive including Caroline Leaf’s Sand, or Peter and the Wolf, a loose interpretation of the fable Peter and the Wolf. The film marks the start of Leaf's technique of under-the-camera animation, which she developed in subsequent films; in her hands the extraordinary graphic possibilities of sand are revealed. Produced during a stay at Harvard’s Film Study Center by famed Polish animator and poster designer Jan Lenica, Landscape (1974) invokes the artist’s Nazi occupation experience. Asparagus (1979), by Suzan Pitt, was called “…one of the most lavish and wondrous animated shorts ever made, an overwhelming visual experience.” by award-winning animator and animation historian John Canemaker.

Suzan Pitt, still from Asparagus, 1979

Frame by Frame
will also feature a wide selection of student films, including early films of historical significance as well as work from animation classes at Harvard over the last five years. The pioneering Clay or Origin of Species (1965), by Eli Noyes, received an Academy Award nomination for Best Animated Short Subject and is one of the earliest examples of clay animation. Frank Film (1973), by Frank Mouris, won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Subject in 1974 and was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress in 1996. On view by Amy Kravitz, BA Harvard, MFA Cal Arts and currently professor of animation at the Rhode Island School of Design, is River Lethe (1985), an abstract visual poem in five parts created using atypical materials such as rubbed and erased graphite, pigment, and aluminum powders. I hate you don’t touch me or Bat and Hat, by Becky James (Harvard ‘07) won Special Jury Award for Animated Shorts in the 2008 SXSW Film Festival in Austin, Texas.

Eli Noyes, Clay or the Origin of the Species, 1965

Becky James, still from I hate you don't touch me or Bat and Hat, 2007

Other student work includes Rorschach (2006), by Tessa Johung, an inkblot test that asks us to recognize the subconscious within the physical human body; Plume (2006), by Maya Erdelyi, a cut-paper animation about birth, love and the cycles of life; Leftovers (2006) by Tim Reckart, a story of unrequited love between an old man who wants a friend and a squirrel who wants a sandwich; Katharine Woodman-Maynard’s The Space Inside (2008), a film that looks at the relationship between rural and urban life; Do Rivers (2009), by David Rice, exploring the relationships between people and landscapes as mediated by fantasy and nightmare; and Kapsis (2009), an 8 minute video-art piece by Yen-Ting Cho, portraying a Nahua myth of a young girl who becomes a starfish.

Exhibition co-curated by Ruth Lingford and Terah Maher. Exhibiiton design by Terah Maher.

Tim Reckart, Leftovers, 2006

Tessa Johung, Rorschach, 2006