Thursday, September 18, 2008

John Hubley's Moonbird

insight and history via Michael Sporn:

"In 1959, Moonbird took a giant leap forward. The art style borrowed from the expressionists, but used a method of double exposures to layer the characters into the backgrounds. Each animation drawing was painted black outside the border of its lines. Moonbird, the character, was colored with clear wax crayon and painted with black ink. The black resisted where the wax stood and gave a loose scribbled coloring. All of these painted drawings were photographed as double exposures, shot at less than 100%, to combine characters with Bgs.

The soundtrack involved an improvised track of two children, Mark and Ray Hubley, playing. These were recorded in sessions within a recording studio and massively edited down to create the final tracks."

I would love to see the non-YouTube version. The expressions of the kids are so human.


Allie said...

I'm assuming you've seen 'cockaboody', also by the Hubleys. I wonder what it was like the be the children of animators who liked using your voice (The children being Georgia-of yo la tengo and Emily-an animator herself, check out the hedwick animations). I'd like to find out whether it's something that makes them happy or not, as I'm sure to do the same thing when I have kids someday. Using an actual childs voice gives the artist the ability to make the characters more human because of the raw emotion in a childs voice. I find it intriguing too how many artists, particularly animators and illustrators, are influenced by their own children. For an artist who has an aptitude to create 'childlike' art, I can imagine having their own kid opens the door back to childhood that was still partially opened, but once theres a kid there it's opened wide again.

Bob Flynn said...

I just hunted down Cockaboody:

I saw a documentary on the Hubley's before and snippets of it were in it. Thanks for reminding me!

Your comments on the kids voices are so true. I'm sure they are honored to be part of their parents work.

The animation in these films is by definition limited. But as most of the UPA period work, it still delivers a certain appeal that I don't believe Flash animation comes close to capturing.

In most Flash animation, I feel like we're trading away too much of the human touch in animation. By the shear fact that we're doing less of the work, but more importantly that we draw the characters less. So they aren't allowed to change from frame to frame.

I say worry less about making the animation look so smooth, and take the time to make unique drawings that capture moments in movement.

There's a lot we can learn from films like this.