Friday, February 27, 2009

An Interview with Ralph Eggleston

First off, special congratulations go out to Wall-E, Eve and the gang for snagging the Oscar. Dave Schlafman just passed along an interview with Ralph Eggleston, production designer on the film. He details some of the artistic goals and production challenges of the the film. I especially enjoyed reading about his thoughts on color. He gets into texturing, too. Well worth the read.

--> Design With a Purpose, An Interview with Ralph Eggleston

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Deadlines got you down?

...take a note from Glen Keane, Disney animator extraordinaire. There is a great article about him on Lineboil.

My favorite portion of this article:

Do you have any routines for uncorking your creativity?

GLEN: Get away. That’s what I need to do when I am stuck. I go for a long walk and refresh my soul. I go to a museum to remind myself that I am an artist and need to think like one. Often the thing that can happen to someone working for a big studio like Disney, or any studio for that matter, is that you can forget why you love this art form. It can quickly become about meeting a production goal. Schedules and deadlines are important, even essential, because they create a fire and heat that seem to force you into your best ideas. However when you feel creatively empty and uninspired, the deadline mentality will say “It’s okay just let it go. So what if it’s not your best work - you’ll get another chance next time. Hand in the scene and at least you can feel good about hitting the numbers.”

I reject this voice and instead do something that feels entirely counter-intuitive. I take that seemingly all too precious time and walk out the door of the studio, hop in my car and drive to the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena. I marvel at the Rodin sculpture at the entrance. I study the Degas pastels and figurines… I start to remember that I am an artist first and animator second.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Demanding the Grade

Just read an interesting article in the NYTimes:

--> Student Expectations Seen as Causing Grade Disputes

“Many students come in with the conviction that they’ve worked hard and deserve a higher mark,” Professor Grossman said. “Some assert that they have never gotten a grade as low as this before.”

—that's not Brian ;)

“I noticed an increased sense of entitlement in my students and wanted to discover what was causing it,” said Ellen Greenberger, the lead author of the study, called “Self-Entitled College Students: Contributions of Personality, Parenting, and Motivational Factors,” which appeared last year in The Journal of Youth and Adolescence.

“I think that it stems from their K-12 experiences,” Professor Brower said. “They have become ultra-efficient in test preparation. And this hyper-efficiency has led them to look for a magic formula to get high scores.”

I know I always worked hard for my A's in high school. The curve was much more prevalent in college, and I do recall certain students going up to the professor—disgruntled that they got a B. Average work deserves a C...there's no sense in inflating someone's sense of mediocrity. But it must be tricky at colleges, where students are often treated as customers because they are seen as paying for their education.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Comics Grammar And Tradition

I just came across this post about comic book lettering that talks about all of the "rules" (which were made to be broken, sometimes) involved with laying out text in speech bubbles in comic books. It's very cool how much of a "language" there is involved with this, and how much a few marks (i.e., the "breath marks") can tell us.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Ditch Digital

Floyd Norman has a rather bold suggestion sure to stir controversy:

"I’m going to apologize in advance for today's column because I'm sure that it's going to make a lot of people angry. I have a plan that some might call radical. But it’s a plan that I’m afraid we need. Tough times demand tough decisions, and here’s one to consider:

Get rid of digital animation at Walt Disney Animation Studios."

--> Link to column

His argument is from a business perspective, mainly that Disney should leverage their history (the brand they established over an entire century) and return to what they have always excelled at. Especially in a world where practically everything is CG, and they already own Pixar. Interesting read, for sure. Thanks to Sherm Cohen for sharing the link over Facebook.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Art of Storyboarding

Walt Disney: "At our studio we don't write our stories, we draw them."

Alfred Hitchcok: "A storyboard artist has to be a good storyteller."

Andrew Adamson: "This is an expensive writing tool, but a really inexpensive production tool."

via Presentation Zen