Wednesday, July 30, 2008

And now for something Horrible

Remember Buffy the Vampire Slayer? Well former Buffy (and Firefly for the sci-fi nerds among us) writer Joss Whedon found something to do during the last writers strike- or so I believe was the story, but I assume it was an idea shaking around for a while.
Introducing- Dr.Horrible's Sing-Along Blog!
I loved this, and wanted to spread the word. It's more than worth the few dollars on itunes, and good to note- this was made for their own artistic enjoyment, meaning I doubt anyone has gotten rich off of it.
This is a great thing to remember when making our own work. If you have an idea that's been nagging at you- make it real. If you need help doing it, ask for it! You've got friends who love you and your ideas! We're all artists here trying to express ourselves, may it be through a sing-along blog or a crochet octopus (go Nomers!)With our powers combined... you know the rest :)
I feel inspired to work more on my rock opera... but since that's such a big endeavor I'm thinking of sidenoting for a while and making a short mini rocker opera. Is there a word for that? Operette? Anywho... Check out Dr.Horrible. 45 minutes of enjoyment, I promise.

Ps. It's starring Neil Patrick Harris. If you had a crush on him when you were a 6 year old little girl too, all the better.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Must-See-and-Read Color Study

It's already been picked up by both Drawn! and Cartoon Brew, but I wanted make sure all you FableVisionaries and creative folk weren't missing out on a great study in color design. Hop on over to Oswald Iten's blog called Colorful Animation Expressions for a break down of color in 101 Dalmations (1 and 2 so far).
Call it Color Theory 101! (ha)

Monday, July 28, 2008


Gary passed a game on to me called Questionaut. It's a free game on the BBC's KS2 Bitesize site, described as the following: "Journey through strange worlds and test your knowledge of English, Maths and Science on this magical mission to recover your friend’s hat." It looks like it's by the same creative folks behind Samorost.

The game design is striking, and just like Samorost, involves a lot of click-based exploration. It's educational, but once you get into the game, you discover it's more of a pretty packaging for quiz format education. Not ideal, but each of the stages are related to the subject matter you get quizzed on. I enjoyed it—the quizzes seemed 6th grade level or so.

A couple things to point out in terms of Flash production: they are really clever about mixing beautifully rendered raster art with simple vector characters that are easy to animate because of their design. The sound design adds a ton, but the game doesn't take long to load at all. So they've definitely optimized everything well.

You follow a simple narrative as you travel from stage to stage, so overall, I think they've done a nice job of wrapping a story around a quiz game. And the puzzles you solve to get to the quizzes are also very pleasurable (to interact with, and watch). Nicely done!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Sports, in 3-D!

via Wired

Having a hard time getting into Fenway Park? Have you always wanted to see the Superbowl or World Cup? TV not quite cutting it for you? Why not try 3-D?

"Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban gave a presentation to the FCC about the future of digital media, and his number one point ...was that people will be able to go to a movie theater and watch a major sporting event in 3-D...It truly is a different experience from seeing a game on 2-D television. It's not like seeing it live, either, but something different and interesting. As the Pace folks explained, for instance, they discovered that constant cutting to different shots -- a TV staple -- isn't necessary in 3-D. It seems better to let the camera take in the full-court action. Viewers feel a little like they're watching from halfway up the arena seats."

Apparently the technology is almost there...we're likely to see experiments in the next couple of years. Cool, huh?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Got Milk?

--> got milk?

Thirsty? Cookies welcome. Lactose intolerant applicants need not apply ;)

Great site design and overall concept. Take special note of all the attention paid to transitions and sound design.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


What are you doing with your moleskine? ' is a blog that's been kicking around for a few months "dedicated to moleskine lovers and their art." What's a moleskine, you ask? Their slogan proudly touts that it "is the legendary notebook used for the past two centuries by great artists and thinkers, including Van Gogh, Picasso, Hemingway and Chatwin." They come in all sorts of forms (journals, sketchbooks, agendas).

This beauty is by Mattias Adolfsson. I'm not sure I've seen a wide format moleskine like this before. There are tons of talented sketchbook artists featured on this site, as if you didn't already feel guilty for not doodling enough ;)

Get sketching!!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Background Design

Renée came to me the other day with a question about background design...mainly that she wanted some inspiration to look at, so I pointed her in the direction of Rob Richard's Animation Backgrounds blog. I'd seen it referenced before on John K's blog as a one-stop depot for animation backgrounds of all styles, minus the characters! There's even a handy list on the side that helps organize them into films and periods. Well, a day later, John K. is blogging away about backgrounds. Check out his post here, as I'm referencing only a few of the images he pulled from Rob Richard's site.

I'll be the first to admit that I have a difficult time with backgrounds. John K. does a good job breaking down the key principles of composition and hierarchy—how you frame a shot and how you organize elements on a page. Like with everything else in image-making, it's always key to consider things like contrast, positive and negative space (you know the laundry list)...all the things you would consider as a designer of anything. Here are two "stylized" backgrounds that really excel (from Warner Brothers Cartoons of the 1950s):

Breathtaking! I can recall a recent film we did where we had a scene with a park bench —notice the frame of reference here. I know I fall into the trap of keeping the horizon at a flat 180 degrees. See how much more dynamic these compositions are because of the angling of forms? They still adhere to a system of perspective and logic. Here are poignant words from John K:

"Some modern layout artists see a license for anarchy in these stylized images. I see very slightly distorted perspectives and stylistic interpretations of reality, but with still great planning and organization of all the graphic elements into a quickly readable statement that has a purpose in the scene and story. Each element does not follow its own physics ; it is subservient to the overall composition. Every detail follows and helps define the larger object it is part of."

Check out this fire red background from 101 Dalmations:

Here's a random shot from The Jungle Book. You can tell right away where Mowgli is supposed to go, and the background is balanced as to not overwhelm you with jungle:

Or a house fit for a mouse! This is from "Jonann Mouse", a Tom and Jerry cartoon that won an Oscar. This is the full pan...low to the ground (notice the chair leg in the foreground):

Anyway, that's just a small sampling. Definitely check out this invaluable resource!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


via ColdHardFlash

"Sam Miller, a 21-year old student at the University of Hertfordshire, created this 2-minute short Clouds, which follows a young girl’s adventures flying through the sky. The film, which took Miller around 5 months to complete, was produced as part of his second year at school. The character animation was created in Flash, and the clouds were handled in After Effects."

--I think this film is about motion and composition (striking on both accounts, anyway). I would love to see the storyboards. The character design and animation is nicely handled as well. Notice how well he mixed Flash with After Effects.