Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Future of Flash

Hey gang! First off,
3 posts in one day?
...that's a record! I'm writing because I was struck by a discussion going on over art Cartoon Brew, spurred by one studio's announcement they they are dropping Flash in favor of ToonBoom's Harmony. Check it out, lots of good discussion (here). People are generally complaining about how buggy it is, how it was never truly made to serve animators, and how all the new filters have been nothing but a tease.

One person in the chain of comments linked to this video of new Flash features. Watch the first one called "Flash Next." Skip the video part. They introduce fancier tweening properties, and the much longed for skeleton feature, which allows you to build a jointed framework into a character. This is something ToonBoom already has, I believe.

Flash has its problems (really), but it is hands down my favorite program, probably ever. It can do so many things, remarkably well. We simply couldn't exist as a company without it. I don't really care about the bells and whistles some people long for, especially because I'm not the biggest fan of tweening (a character skeleton sounds interesting, but it does nothing for the animation I'd be interested in creating). Give me some better character management tools (mouths for lipsync, character palettes), better bitmap handling, and bring back that Flash MX drawing performance factor. I'll be a happy camper.

Coming Very Soon

Watch the trailer here:

Online Colorblindness Simulator

Here's a pretty cool link. You can see how people who are colorblind will see your designs:

Is it true that only males are colorblind??? Why?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

And the nominees are...

The Academy Award nominees were announced on Tuesday, and it's no surprise that the latest Pixar film Ratatouille was nominated for best animated feature. It was a pleasant surprise to see Persepolis nominated, a film that is low on budget but rich in storytelling. Amazingly, the budget for that film was only $8.1 million – Ratatouille cost $150 million.

The third nominee was Surf's Up (yes, another penguin movie), which beat out The Simpsons Movie and Bee Movie, both successful films from big studios.

Ratatouille was also nominated for best musical score, sound editing, sound mixing, and original screenplay, a category not usually associated with animation.

But the animated short films are where you'll see the most variety and individuality, this is the one time of year when independent animation gets a national spotlight. You can see a nice roundup of all the nominations at the AWN website:

Monday, January 21, 2008

Storyboarding and Color Design Galore!

Howdy, folks! I was just over at Michael Splorn's blog and saw a fantastic series of posts he has about the concept art for The Little House. Links here--> 1, 2, 3. He has samples of Bill Peet's storyboards and Mary Blair's color concepts. Be sure to look at the hi-res scans of the storyboards, they are truly spectacular. Check out the ones that he did on black paper (for night)...a practical solution, but ingenious!

The two worked as a creative duo designing the look of the film. I find it interesting that two of the comments point out that so much of film relies on the front on shot of the house. Which is one of the reasons why color design plays such a big role (same shot, but different look everytime). MMMMMM....gets my juices bubbling just looking at this artwork! I thought it was relevant, as I've been talking with a couple of you about the importance of storyboarding. Michael Splorn often posts concept art for animated films, so be sure to stop by his blog when you're surfing for creativity.

Thursday, January 17, 2008


I found these posters is the American version, the other is German. Guess which is which?
P.S. Let's go see this movie when it comes to Boston :)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

29 Days of Creative Juices

A fellow crafty friend of mine sent me a link to this page ( Thing a Day. I thought it was something everyone else might appreciate. So I propose for anyone who wants to join in, at the end of the month we have a show and tell party. The idea is just to make something, so if you feel like writing some emo poetry and reading it, we can all do little hipster snapping claps when youre done. I'd love to see what other people come up with!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Thinking on your feet

A great article in the Boston Sunday Globe (Jan. 13th) draws connections between moving and thinking. Here's an excerpt:

"The brain is often envisioned as something like a computer, and the body as its all-purpose tool. But a growing body of new research suggests that something more collaborative is going on - that we think not just with our brains, but with our bodies. A series of studies, the latest published in November, has shown that children can solve math problems better if they are told to use their hands while thinking. Another recent study suggested that stage actors remember their lines better when they are moving."

While this article only gives a brief overview of the concept, it's very interesting, and fits into FableVision's philosophy that there are many ways to learn, and everyone thinks differently.

Read the whole article here.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


In the future, a children's media company will launch an internet television channel that will forever alter the fabric of space and time as we know it. While the rest of civilization battles off dinobots, mutant gerbils, and global deepfreeze, the creative minds at FableVision break through the airwaves with FVTV to save humanity. Stories that will matter, stories that will move. The year is 2008...the future is now!

Anyone wanna make some cartoons?

The New Yorker Contest

via Drawn!
"For the next two weeks, The New Yorker invites readers, budding or would-be cartoonists (as well as bona-fide pros and assorted graffiti artists of course) to create their own humorous version of Eustace Tilley, the iconic dandy who appeared on the first cover in 1925 and has returned for nearly every anniversary issue since. Valid entries will be displayed on a dedicated Flick’r site for all the world to see. Up to twenty winning entries, selected by New Yorker editors, will be published on to commemorate the magazine’s 83rd anniversary."

This looks like it could be fun! Visit The New Yorker website for rules and details.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Writing For Animation

I just read an interesting post on Cartoon Brew that discusses the roll of writers in the creative process of animation. Be sure to read the commentary. Apparently there is one view that scriptwriters didn't exist in the Golden Age of animation (before 1960) and that narrative was developed during the storyboarding process (opinion at ASIFA). I find that hard to believe, though I recognize storyboarding played a much larger role back then. Amid Amidi brings a recent interview with Brad Bird (Iron Giant, The Incredibles, Ratatouille) into the debate, which I find very interesting and more thought-provoking. Here's an excerpt:
"The whole question of writing for animation is skewed" says Bird, whose next project will be his live-action debut. "There isn't a giant difference between animation and live action. You need characters, stories, themes. It's called good storytelling."

and this:
"I write scripts first, before the work gets to the storyboarding stage. But I write with the knowledge of what animation can do."

I think this is key. It's difficult to work with a script if a writer doesn't have a true understanding of the form (it's possibilities, and it's limitations). Bird's obsession and appreciation of the form makes him a powerful animation director and writer which is why he's such a huge asset to Pixar. I do think we should give greater emphasis to group storyboarding in the studio. This means writers, animators, directors all working together to construct the narrative. So that everyone has familiarity and respect for the craft.

On a related note....Renée, I just found out that Brad Bird was also behind the Family Dog cartoon I showed you. Funny, huh?

My favorite book has a blog!

Bob has this book on his desk that Ioooove called Cartoon Modern. While being a blog nerd tonight, I just found THEIR blog and wanted to share it :)
Cartoon Modern