Posts Tagged ‘animation’

The Problem Solverz Are Back!


Friday, December 10, 2010

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You might have been asking yourself, what’s Ben Jones been up to? Well, kind people, he is in Burbank, CA right this minute, working long days on his Cartoon Network series, The Problem Solverz. His first season, which was written with Eric (Futurama) Kaplan, is in the middle of production, with an air date sometime in 2011. This is not, as some of you may know, Neon Knome, which was an Adult Swim project that sprung briefly to life. This new show is, if anything, a more pure expression of Ben’s longtime characters, Horace, Roba, and Alfe. It perfectly exemplifies Ben’s genius for character, dialogue, and strikingly beautiful world building. Below is a clip from the first episode — it’s not complete, but gives you a flavor for this new and wonderful series. If you like it, click on over to YouTube and say so. We are also taking any and all “fan art”, which you can send to me for posting at dan (at) pictureboxinc (dot) com.

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An Afternoon Cartoon


Thursday, November 4, 2010

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Today’s post is running late, but in the meantime, please enjoy this related entertainment.
Something to think about the next time someone tells you they don’t make ’em like they used to.

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New Ruined Cast Website


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

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Stills from the Sundance June Directors Lab. Top: Thomas Jay Ryan. Bottom: Mageina Tovah and Liam Aiken.

There’s a new website for the animated movie I’m doing. Ray Sohn designed it. It’s a shared production blog. Expect to see: storyboards, character model sheets, production drawings, background paintings, frames, animatics, color separations, some writing, original cartoons for the site, videos we like by other people, and I’m posting a drawing from my sketchbook every weekday on it.  Check it out and you will get the idea.

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The Ruined Cast


Saturday, May 29, 2010

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“The Ruined Cast” / Dash Shaw – demo teaser from Howard Gertler on Vimeo.

Hey everybody, Frank Santoro here to update you the “not comics” project I’m working on: Dash Shaw’s new animated feature, The Ruined Cast.

We’ve made a three minute teaser and are presenting it here for your viewing pleasure. Check it out! And yes, I hand painted those waves rolling in from the ocean!

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Bruce Timm color guides


Friday, May 28, 2010

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hand colored marker guide for the colorist

This one is for all you color nerds out there. I was leafing through the Batman Animated book and found a few color guides by Bruce Timm from his Mad Love comic. There are some notes for the colorist from Timm and I think they’re worth sharing. Remember this was 1994. Timm’s notes read:

“Basically, I wanted to keep the color as simple as possible. I feel a lot of the new, computer-separated books are way over-rendered, the “Image” books being the worst offenders. In particular I really hate that “hard-edged” gradation that Oliff & Chiodo use so often. Please try to keep gradations as smooth as possible & “air-brush”-y as possible.”

Hunh. Pretty interesting to think that Timm in ’94 was reacting against Image Comics coloring. Also interesting to think that his way of thinking, that his reaction has had its own influence on comics and on animation.

And beyond that the Batman Animated book by Chip Kidd seems to me to be a big influence itself. Dash never stops talking about it. Jim Rugg too. Something about identity or something. Bodyworld, Afrodisiac… seeing around a character, a setting, a story. Hunh. I feel like Joe Pesci in JFK, “It’s a mystery wrapped up in a riddle…!” What does it all mean? It means, the pledge drive is over, dear readers, thank you for your support.

Welcome back to regular programming.

Bruce Timm's color guide for Mad Love

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Recent Read: The Anime Machine


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

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In The Anime Machine, Thomas Lamarre has a smart, cute way of describing the difference between full and limited animation: “Drawing the movement (full) vs. moving the drawing (limited.)” Limited animation is sliding planes of drawings, done by moving a drawing a little bit, taking a picture, and then again. This has created so many interesting, inventive ways of communicating depth on a two-dimensional playing field- as opposed to moving through space like in Pixar animation or Tekkon Kinkreet environments where the drawings are somehow (I have no idea how) mapped onto three-dimensional spaces for the camera to move around in.

The most common example is when a camera zooms out from a drawing and objects in the foreground slide from the sides to the center of the frame. Obviously, this doesn’t happen in real life; nothing is flat. We’d see the side of the objects as we move past them. But our brain fills in the gaps and it creates the illusion of moving backward in space. This is aided by our acceptance of live-action camera zooms, which flatten the picture plane (like in Barry Lyndon.) (more…)


Psych-Rock Spidey


Sunday, May 2, 2010

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I am obsessed with the music from the animated 1967 Spider-Man cartoons. Not the theme music but the background music. Part jazz, part James Brown soul, part psychedelic rock—it’s all a big mash-up of styles that marvels the ears and makes me dance around. Anyways, Bill Boichel and I have been trying to track down the music sans voices and sound effects for years, but to no avail. Today Bill forwarded me this discovery (which had been sent to him by one of his regulars, Phil Dokes): two blog posts from WFMU’s blog on the subject.

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Cleopatra (Sorta) Translated


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

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Tezuka’s Mushi Production produced a trilogy of adult animated features in the early seventies known as the “Animerama trilogy.” They’ve been floating around online for years untranslated until recently Cleopatra has been fansubbed and posted on YouTube. As the intro explains, it was based on a machine-made translation of the Chinese version and it didn’t make any sense and so they tried to subtitle it in a way that made sense even though they don’t know any Japanese. “Every attempt has been made to convey the original story as we assume it was intended. Though some artistic liberties have been taken to ensure the story makes some sort of fucking sense.” Pretty funny. It starts here.

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Genie Junkie


Friday, January 22, 2010

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Friend of CC Robin McConnell has posted scans of an article about Gary Panter‘s design work for Genie Junkie, a Liquid Television short. I e-mailed Gary about it and he said “it was one more commercial job I did to survive.” He didn’t come up with the idea, or write the script or animate it. Still, it’s fun to check out. Here’s the short:

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The Barely Visible Blechman


Thursday, December 10, 2009

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In U and I, a madcap memoir of a freshman writer’s Updike obsession, Nicholson Baker compares a drawing he saw in a philosophy book with some cartoons: “I thought of those several contemporary illustrators whose style was based on the same trembly, Dow-Jonesy contour line: William Steig, for instance, and Seymour Chwast, and whoever did that Alka-Seltzer cartoon commercial in the sixties in which (as I remembered it) a yiddishly unhappy human stomach, gesticulating from an analyst’s couch or chair, it esophagus waggling like an unruly forelock, told its troubles to a nodding murmuring doctor.”

I might be gravely mistaken on this point, but I think the animated ad that Baker remembered was done by R.O. Blechman. Certainly Blechman did other ads for Alka-Seltzer, including one which can be seen here.

Blechman is like that: he’s everywhere and nowhere at once. Even more than Bazooka Joe strips or Jack Chick handouts, Blechman lives at the peripheral edge of perception. He’s been in every magazine on the newsstand (either through his own art or in the ersatz form of his many imitators) yet only the design elite know his name. The very pervasiveness and influence of his art works against name recognition. Even someone as erudite as Baker, who can readily summon up Steig and Chwast, knows Blechman only as “whoever.”

There are two big Blechman books this season. The Drawn and Quarterly career overview of his cartooning work is rightfully getting attention, including some choice praise from Dan, but that might have overshadowed his other fine book, Dear James: Letters to a Young Illustrator. Earlier on this blog, Tim tried to get people to pay attention to this book and it got a nice, observant review from Sarah Boxer in the New York Times. Still, my sense is that many comics people are still only dimly aware of the book’s existence and haven’t really recognized why it deserves their time. I’d be surprised if very many comic book stores are stocking it, despite the fact that it is a perfect gift for prospective cartoonists.

Dear James is several books in one: it’s an informal autobiography, a guide for becoming an illustrator, as well as a commonplace book. But really it is a nifty volume that should be read by anyone who is engaged in a freelance career in the arts, because it is really about how to survive in a commercial environment while holding on to your artistic integrity. Blechman has a well-stocked mind, rich in both personal anecdotes and also choice quotations taken from his wide reading. His prose, like his drawing, is deceptively simple. Glancing at his drawings or skimming his essays, you might fall into the fallacy of thinking that the man is minimalist to a fault. Yet after you’ve spent some time with Blechman’s work and then set it aside, you’ll be surprise by how much of it has stuck with you. He’s a master of giving his audience the core that they need, leaving everything superfluous aside.

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