Apr 20, 2010
Raoul Servais was born in the Belgian city of Ostend in 1928. He is mainly known for the film "Harpya", which won the Palme d'Or at Cannes in France in 1979. "Harpya" was also the first and last film to use the technique of mixing animation and live action together as one.
His work is surreal, with odd camera angles and strange subject matter, and it is really fun to watch. I recently saw one of his earlier films, "Sirene", and it looks like something that could have been made today. It has precise movements of the machines and the delicate form of humans rolled balanced in quite a harmonious way. Go watch it. You'll love it.
Apr 19, 2010
Apr 14, 2010
Jiri Trnka was consider to be Disney of the east. Through his provoctive puppet animation, Trnka became one of the most infulenical animators of our time. He graduated from the Prague School of Arts and Crafts. He created a puppet theater in 1936. This group was dissolved when World War 2 began, and he instead designed stage sets and illustrated books for children throughout the war. After the end of the war, Trnka started an animation unit at the Prague film studio. Trnka soon became very recognized as the world's greatest puppet animator in the traditional Czech method, and he won several awards including Cannes in 1959 and 1964 for Best Short. The last film Trnka work on earned him an BAFTA was RUKA (The Hand). It was a
Apr 8, 2010
Chuck Jones's "How The Grinch Stole Christmas" is a favorite among the Gorals, and its viewing on Christmas Eve has been a family tradition for years. Personally, I think the cartoon is a too-often overlooked Chuck Jones gem.
Apr 7, 2010
When I took a character animation class last semester, we often looked at John K's blog (creator of Ren & Stimpy), primarily because he posts frame-by-frame analyses of many Looney Tunes moments, dissecting how extreme exaggerations and motion smears look individually. Often times, the animation is so well executed and smooth that the extreme drawings of certain frames don't seem all that noticeable when watching them in motion. Through this, the animation is far more interesting and exciting when seemingly strange techniques are used. He also provides a link to the actual animated scene at the end of each post, so you can see what these images look like when animated.
We all recognize Elmer Fudd because of his familiar gullibility, short temper, big head, and double barrel gun. His never ending goal of hunting "wabbits" kept and still manages to keep viewers captivated because they know that he will lose, and they know why he will lose, but they don't know how it's going to happen. Bugs always has another trick up his sleeve. Though Elmer is considered the villain of the cartoons, he lacks the essential characteristics of a potential villain. He's relatively slow, has terrible aim, and a short attention span.
He first began his life as "Egghead", created by Tax Avery as a bizarre figure with an egg like head, and a big nose. Chuck Jones re-drew Elmer for "Elmers Candid Camera" in 1940 with the baby voice of Arthur Bryan, who truly did have a lisp. In "A Wild Hare"(1940), we see Elmer as he appears today for the first time.
What could have made Elmer so bitter that he feels the need to poach Bugs? He is a vegetarian and hunts purely for sport. I would originally say that he was so bitter because he had tried time after time to catch this dumb wabbit and felt defeated, but it turns out that in his first appearances, he "wikes wabbits" and just wants to photograph Bugs and adopt him as a pet. Eventually Bugs must have had vulnerable Elmer so frustrated that it drove him to huntin'.
After Arthur Bryans death, Hal Smith took over Elmer Fudd for two cartoons, but eventually Fudd had no voice at all, retired for almost three decades.
Perhaps one of my favorite cartoons by Chuck Jones (and of all time, for that matter) is his “What’s Opera, Doc?” Perhaps it’s a simple question of nostalgia, but I always find myself enjoying the short more and more after each subsequent viewing. One reason I enjoy it is because of the many ties it has to various Wagner operas (e.g. The Flying Dutchman, Tannhäuser, The Valkyrie, etc…) Maybe I like the short simply for it’s idea of teaching kids about things they might not know about at that stage (in this case opera). I know that after I saw this, it prompted me to go and find out about what the short was parodying. The short truly stands on its own. It can do everything from teach you, to make you roll on the floor laughing. This is why it has held up so well compared to other things throughout the years. In this magnum opus by Chuck Jones, he lampoons everything from Richard Wagner to Disney’s “Fantasia”. Perhaps this is why I like this particular one so much; the diversity.
And then when I was in fourth grade (or somewhere around that time), my mom and I got a satelite dish. Now, this thing was very sensitive. It was on our roof and it had to be turned with a clicker from the room the TV was in. As you clicked the clicker, left or right, the dish would follow. And that dish could get amazing channels! Like Eurosport and BBC. One day as I was playing around with the clicker and was trying desperately to get it back to where I started from, I stumbled onto Cartoon Network. And I was smitten with Cartoon Network. Someone told me a story about this girl, who learned English just by watching it. I told my mom that so she would let me watch more if it, but she didn't go for it... Anyhow, it was then that I saw Tom and Jerry, and Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd the first time. I loved them all! Especially the ones with lots of visual gags, because my English at the time constituted of "Vatsi yor neim?" and "Tank yu". Later on, after hearing "Gotcha" a hundred times and a dozen futile attempts to find it in my dictionary, I finally got it!
Just last night, I had one of those "gotcha" moments that made me ridiculously happy. I watched an early episode of 30 Rock and Liz Lemon's phone goes off and it is the "Kill the Wabbit" song! The joke is on the snobbish art dealer because she is not familiar with the reference and asks her if she likes Wagner. And I got it. And the joke wasn't on me. (It made me almost as happy when I read the Phantom Tollbooth and was figuring out the wordplays. Pretty exciting if I think about how I first read Goodnight Moon when I was a freshman and halfway through "Make way for ducklings" I had to finally ask if these Mr and Mrs Mallard were birds, and I am still not through all the Dr. Seuss books.)
Posted by Eszter
John Whitney is known as an inventor, composer and animator who was born in Pasadena, California on April 8th, 1917. He died at the age of 78 on September 22, 1995. He is frequently considered to be the father of computer animation. He went to Pomona College and studied the art of music in Paris for a year. When he returned to America, he began to collaborate with his brother, James. He was awarded first prize at the First International Experimental Film Festival for a film he did with his brother and also won the Guggenheim Fellowship. But along with achieving distinction in the experimental film world, he made his mark in television with commercials and in movies such as Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo. His work varied greatly; it went from being considered psychedelic to being influenced by Native Americans. His work and name would be nothing without him perfecting the analogue computer. The following quote is a description of the device he used to create his art.
“The analogue computer Whitney used to create his most famous animations was built in the late 1950s by converting the mechanism of a World War II M-5 Antiaircraft Gun Director. Later, Whitney would augment the mechanism with an M-7 mechanism, creating a twelve-foot-high machine. Design templates were placed on three different layers of rotating tables and photographed by multiple-axis rotating cameras. Color was added during optical printing. Whitney's son, John, Jr., described the mechanism in 1970: ‘I don't know how many simultaneous motions can be happening at once. There must be at least five ways just to operate the shutter. The input shaft on the camera rotates at 180 rpm, which results in a photographing speed of 8 fps. That cycle time is constant, not variable, but we never shoot that fast. It takes about nine seconds to make one revolution. During this nine-second cycle the tables are spinning on their own axes while simultaneously revolving around another axis while moving horizontally across the range of the camera, which may itself be turning or zooming up and down. During this operation we can have the shutter open all the time, or just at the end for a second or two, or at the beginning, or for half of the time if we want to do slit-scanning. ‘”
This link is of one of his earlier digital works, Arabesque-http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w7h0ppnUQhE
This link is Catalogue, which was made when he perfected the analogue computer-
These are the opening credits, which he worked on for the film Vertigo by Alfred Hitchcock- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rkHn8PNGYaA
This is a picture of Whitney and his brother James at work.
After seeing "What's Opera, Doc?" last week, I thought of another opera-esque cartoon involving Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd, "The Rabbit of Seville". This was based off of the overture to Rossini's "The Barber of Seville".
I love many different parts of this cartoon, but the two that stick with me the most are when Bugs is giving Elmer a haircut, and he makes fruit salad on top of his head. The other one is when Bugs "proposes" to Elmer, and the two get married (with Elmer in drag, surprisingly) and then Elmer gets dumped into a wedding cake. It's silly, ridiculous, and everything you'd expect out of a Bugs Bunny animation.